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This book must not 
be taken from the 
Library building. 



Form No. 471 







'Away to the Dismal Swamp he speeds, — 

His path was rugged and sore, 
Through tangled juniper, beds of reeds, 
Through many a fen, where the serpent feeds, 
And man never trod before. 

And, when on the earth he sunk to sleep, 

If slumber his eyelids knew, 
He lay where the deadly vine doth weep 
Its venomous tears, that nightly steep 

The flesh with blistering dew." 

VOL. I. 




Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1856, by 


In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the District of Massachusetts. 





The writer of this book lias chosen, once more, a 
subject from the scenes and incidents of the slavehold- 
ing states. 

The reason for such a choice is two-fold. First, in a 
merely artistic point of view, there is no ground, ancient 
or modern, whose vivid lights, gloomy shadows, and 
grotesque groupings, afford to the novelist so wide a 
scope for the exercise of his powers/ In the near 
vicinity of modern civilization of the most matter-of- 
fact kind, exist institutions which carry us back to the 
twilight of the feudal ages, with all their exciting pos- 
sibilities of incident. Two nations, the types of two 
exactly opposite styles of existence, are here strug- 
gling; and from the intermingling of these two a third 
race has arisen, and the three are interlocked in wild 
and singular relations, that evolve every possible com- 
bination of romance. 

Hence, if the writer's only object had been the pro- 
duction of a work of art, she would have felt justified 
in not turning aside from that mine whose inexhaustible 
stores have but begun to be developed. 

But this object, however legitimate, was not the only 
nor the highest one. It is the moral bearings of the 
subject involved which have had the chief influence in 
its selection. 

The issues presented by the great conflict between 
liberty and slavery do not grow less important from 
£\ year to year. On the contrary, their interest increases 
\Aj with every step in the development of the national 
VN career. Never has there been a crisis in the history 
Q of this nation so momentous as the present. If ever a 



nation was raised up by Divine Providence, and led forth 
upon a conspicuous stage, as if for the express purpose 
of solving a great moral problem in the sight of all 
mankind, it is this nation. God in his providence i3 
now asking the American people, Is the system of 
slavery, as set forth in the American slave code, right ? 
Is it so desirable, that you will directly establish it over 
broad regions, where, till now, you have solemnly for- 
bidden it to enter ? And this question the American 
people are about to answer. Under such circumstances 
the writer felt that no apology was needed for once 
more endeavoring to do something towards revealing 
to the people the true character of that system. If the 
people are to establish such a system, let them do it 
with their eyes open, with all the dreadful realities 
before them. 

One liberty has been taken which demands acknowl- 
edgment in the outset. The writer has placed in the 
mouth of one of her leading characters a judicial decis- 
ion of Judge Ruffin, of North Carolina, the boldness, 
clearness, and solemn eloquence of which have excited 
admiration both in the Old World and the New. The 
author having no personal acquaintance with that gen- 
tleman, the character to whom she attributes it is to be 
considered as created merely on a principle of artistic 

To maintain the unity of the story, some anachro- 
nisms with regard to the time of the session of courts 
have been aUowed ; for works of fiction must some- 
times use some liberties in the grouping of incidents. 

But as mere cold art, unquickened by sympathy with 
the spirit of the age, is nothing, the author hopes that 
those who now are called to struggle for all that is 
noble in our laws and institutions may find in this book 
the response of a sympathizing heart. 

... ■ r j 







CLAYTON, *. 18 












OLD TIFF, . . . - 87 























DRED, 238 














" B t lls, Harry ? — Yes. — Dear me, where are they ? — 
There ! — No. Here ? — 0, look ! — What do you think of 
this scarf? Is n't it lovely ? " 

" Yes, Miss Nina, beautiful — but — " 

" 0, those bills ! — Yes — well, here goes — here — per- 
haps in this box. No — that 's my opera-hat. By the by, 
what do you think of that ? Is n't that bunch of silver 
wheat lovely ? Stop a bit — you shall see it on me." 

And, with these words, the slight little figure sprang up 
as if it had wings, and, humming a waltzing-tune, skimmed 
across the room to a looking-glass, and placed the jaunty 
little cap on the gay little head, and then, turning a pirou- 
ette on one toe, said, " There, now ! " 

" There, now ! " Ah, Harry ! ah, mankind generally ! 
the wisest of you have been made fools of by just such danc- 
ing, glittering, fluttering little assortments of curls, pen- 
dants, streamers, eyes, cheeks, and dimples ! 

The little figure, scarce the height of the Venus, rounded 
as that of an infant, was shown to advantage by a coquet- 
tish morning-dress of buff muslin, which fluttered open in 
front to display the embroidered skirt, and trim little mouse 
of a slipper. The face was one of those provoking c ties 
which set criticism at defiance. The hair, waving, curl- 


ing, dancing hither and thither, seemed to have a wild, 
laughing- grace of its own ; the brown eyes twinkled like 
the pendants of a chandelier ; the little, wicked nose, which 
bore the forbidden upward curve, seemed to assert its right 
to do so, with a saucy freedom ; and the pendants of mul- 
tiplied brilliants that twinkled in her ears, and the nodding 
wreath of silver wheat that set off her opera-hat, seemed 
alive with mischief and motion. 

" Well, what do you think ? " said a lively, imperative 
voice, — just the kind of voice that you might have ex- 
pected from the figure. 

The young man to whom this question was addressed 
was a well-dressed, gentlemanly person of about thirty-five, 
with dark complexion and hair, and deep, full blue eyes. 
There was something marked and peculiar in the square, 
high forehead, and the finely-formed features, which indi- 
cated talent and ability ; and the blue eyes had a depth and 
strength of color that might cause them at first glance to 
appear black. The face, with its strongly-marked expres- 
sion of honesty and sense, had about it many care-worn 
and thoughtful lines. He looked at the little, defiant fay 
for a moment with an air of the most entire deference and 
admiration ; then a heavy shadow crossed his face, and he 
answered, abstractedly, " Yes, Miss Nina, everything you 
wear becomes pretty — and that is perfectly charming." 

" Isn't it, now, Harry? I thought you would think so. 
You see, it 's my own idea. You ought to have seen what 
a thing it was when I first saw it in Mme. Le Blanche's 
window. There was a great hot-looking feather on it, and 
two or three horrid bows. I had them out in a twinkling, 
and got this wheat in — which shakes so, you know. It's 
perfectly lovely ! — Well, do you believe, the very night I 
wore it to the opera, I got engaged ? " 

" Engaged, Miss Nina ? " 

' ' Engaged ! — Yes, to be sure ! Why not ? " 

' It seems to me that's a very serious thing, Miss 


" Serious ! — ha ! ha ! ha ! " said the little beauty, seat- 
ing herself on one arm of the sofa, and shaking the glit- 
tering hat back from her eyes. " Well, I fancy it was — to 
him, at least. I made him serious, I can tell you ! " 

" But, is this true, Miss Nina ? Are you really en- 
gaged ? " 

" Yes, to be sure I am — to three gentlemen ; and going 
to stay so till I find which I like best. May be you know I 
shan't like any of them." 

" Engaged to three gentlemen, Miss Nina?" 

"To be sure! — Can't you understand English, Harry? 
I am now — fact." 

" Miss Nina, is that right ? " 

" Right ? — why not ? I don't know which to take — I 
positively don't ; so I took them all on trial, you know." 

" Pray, Miss Nina, tell us who they are." 

"Well, there's Mr. Carson; — he's a rich old bachelor 
— horridly polite — one of those little, bobbing men, that 
always have such shiny dickies and collars, and such bright 
boots, and such tight straps. And he 's rich — and per- 
fectly wild about me. He would n't take no for an answer, 
you know ; so I just said yes, to have a little quiet. Be- 
sides, he is very convenient about the opera and concerts, 
and such things." 

"Well, and the next?" 

" Well, the next is George Emmons. He 's one of youi 
pink-and-white men, you know, who look like cream-candy, 
as if they were good to eat. He 's a lawyer, of a good 
family, — thought a good deal of, and all that. Well, 
really, they say he has talents — I'm no judge. I know 
he always bores me to death ; asking me if I have read 
this or that — marking places in books that I never read. 
He's your sentimental sort — writes the most romantic 
notes on pink paper, and all that sort of thing." 

" And the third ? " 

"Well, you see, I don't like him a bit — I'm sure I 
don't. He 's a hateful creature ! He is n't handsome ; he 's 


proud as Lucifer ; and I 'm sure I don't know how he got 
me to be engaged. It was a kind of an accident. He 's 
real good, though — too good for me, that 's a fact. But, 
then, I'm afraid of him a little." 

" And his name ? " 

" Well, his name is Clayton — Mr. Edward Clayton, at 
your service. He 's one of your high-and-mighty people — 
with such deep-set eyes — eyes that look as if they were 
in a cave — and such black hair ! And his eyes have a des- 
perate sort of sad look, sometimes — quite Byronic. He 's 
tall, and rather loose-jointed — has beautiful teeth ; his 
mouth, too, is — well, when he smiles, sometimes it really 
is quite fascinating ; — and then he 's so different from 
other gentlemen ! He 's kind — but he don't care how he 
dresses ; and wears the most horrid shoes. And, then, he 
isn't polite — he won't jump, you know, to pick up your 
thread, or scissors; and sometimes he '11 get into a brown 
study, and let you stand ten minutes before he thinks to 
give you a chair, and all such provoking things. He isn't 
a bit of a lady's man. Well, consequence is, as my lord 
won't court the girls, the girls all court my lord — that 's 
the way, you know ; — and they seem to think it 's such a 
feather in their cap to get attention from him— because, you 
know, he 's horrid sensible. So, you see, that just set me out 
to see what I could do with him. Well, you see, I would n't 
court him ; — and I plagued him, and laughed at him, and 
spited him, and got him gloriously wroth ; and he said 
some spiteful things about me, and then I said some more 
about him, and we had a real up-and-down quarrel ; — and 
then I took a penitent turn, you know, and just went grace- 
fully down into the valley of humiliation — as we witches 
can ; and it took wonderfully — brought my lord on to his 
knees before he knew what he was doing. Well, really, I 
don't know what was the matter, just then, but he spoke 
so earnest and strong, that actually he got me to crying — 
hateful creature ! — and I promised all sorts of things, you 
know — said altogether more than will bear thinking of." 


" And are you corresponding- with all these lovers, Miss 

"Yes — isn't it fun? Their letters, you know, can't 
speak. If they could, when they come rustling together 
in the hag, would n't there be a muss ? " 

" Miss Nina, I think you have given your heart to this 
last one." 

" 0, nonsense, Harry ! Have n't got any heart ! — don't 
care two pins for any of them ! All I want is to have a 
good time. As to love, and all that, I don't believe I could 
love any of them ; I should be tired to death of any of 
them in six weeks. I never liked anything that long." 

" Miss Nina, you must excuse me, but I want to ask 
again, is it right to trifle with the feelings of gentlemen in 
this way ? " 

"Why not? — Isn't all fair in war? Don't they trifle 
with us girls, every chance they get — and sit up so pomp- 
ous in their rooms, and smoke cigars, and talk us over, as 
if they only had to put out their finger and say, ' Come 
here,' to get any of us ? I tell you, it's fun to bring them 
down ! — Now, there 's that horrid George Emmons — I tell 
you, if he did n't flirt all winter with Mary Stephens, and 
got everybody to laughing about her ! — it was so evident, 
you see, that she liked him — she could n't help showing it, 
poor little thing ! — and then my lord would settle his col- 
lar, and say he hadn't quite- made up his mind to take her, 
and all that. Well, I have n't made up my mind to take 
him, either — and so poor Emma is avenged. As to the old 
bach — that smooth-dicky man — you see, he can't be hurt; 
for his heart is rubbed as smooth and hard as his dicky, 
with falling in love and out again. He 's been turned off 
by three girls, now ; and his shoes squeak as brisk as ever, 
and he 's just as jolly. You see, he did n't use to be so 
rich. Lately, he's come into a splendid property ; so, if I 
don't take him, poor man, there are enough that would be 
glad of him." 

" Well, then, but as to that other one ? " 


"What! my lord Lofty? 0, he wants humbling! — it 
would n't hurt him, in the least, to be put down a little. 
He 's good, too, and .afflictions always improve good people. 
I believe I was made for a means of grace to 'em all." 

"Miss Nina, what if all three of them should come at 
once — or even two of. them ? " 

" What a droll idea ! Would n't it be funny ? Just to think 
of it ! What a commotion ! What a scene ! It would 
really be vastly entertaining." 

" Now, Miss Nina, I want to speak as a friend." 

" No, you shan't ! it is just what people say when they 
are going to say something disagreeable. I told Clayton, 
once for all, that I would n't have him speak as a friend to 

" Pray, how does he take all this ? " 

" Take it ! Why, just as he must. He cares a great deal 
more for me than I do for him." Here a slight little sigh 
escaped the fair speaker. "And I think it fun to shock 
him. You know he is one of the fatherly sort, who is always 
advising young girls. Let it be understood that his stand- 
ard of female character is wonderfully high, and all that. 
And, then, to think of his being tripped up before me ! — it 's 
too funny ! " The little sprite here took off her opera-hat, 
and commenced waltzing a few steps, and, stopping mid- 
whirl, exclaimed : " 0, do you know we girls have been 
trying to learn the cachucha, and I 've got some castinets ? 
Let me see — where are they?" And with this she pro- 
ceeded to upset the trunk, from which flew a meteoric shower 
of bracelets, billets-doux, French Grammars, drawing-pen- 
cils, interspersed with confectionary of various descriptions, 
and all the et-ceteras of a school-girl's depository. "There, 
upon my word, there are the bills you were asking for. 
There, take them ! " throwing a package of papers at the 
young man. " Take them ! Can you catch ? " 

" Miss Nina, these do not appear to be bills." 

" 0, bless me ! those are love-letters, then. The bills are 
somewhere." And the little hands went pawing among the 


heap, making the fanciful collection fly in every direction 
over the carpet. " Ah I I believe now in this bonbon-box I 
did put them. Take care of your head, Harry ! " And, with 
the word, the gilded missile flew from the little hand, and, 
opening on the way, showered Harry with a profusion of 
crumpled papers. " Now you have got them all, except 
one, that I- used for curl-papers, the other night. 0, don't 
look so sober about it! Indeed, I kept the pieces — here 
they are. And now don't you say, Harry, don't you tell 
me that I never save my bills. You don't know how partic- 
ular I have been, and what trouble I have taken. But, there 
— there 's a letter Clayton wrote to me, one time when we 
had a quarrel. Just a specimen of that creature ! " 

" Pray, tell us about it, Miss Nina," said the young man, 
with his eyes fixed admiringly on the little person, while he 
was smoothing and arranging the crumpled documents. 

" Why, you see, it was just this way. You know, these 
men — how provoking they are ! They'll go and read all 
sorts of books — no matter what they read ! — and then they 
are so dreadfully particular about us girls. Do you know, 
Harry, this always made me angry ? 

" Well, so, you see, one evening, Sophy Elliot quoted some 
poetry from Don Juan, — I never read it, but it seems folks 
call it a bad book, — and my lord Clayton immediately fixed 
his eyes upon her in such an appalling way, and says, ' Have 
you read Don Juan, Miss Elliot ? ' Then, you know, as 
girls always do in such cases, she blushed and stammered, 
and said her brother had read some extracts from it to her. 
I was vexed, and said, ' And, pray, what 's the harm if 
she did read it ? i" mean to read it, the very first chance I 

" ! everybody looked so shocked. Why, dear me ! if 
I had said I was going to commit murder, Clayton could 
not have looked more concerned. So he put on that very 
edifying air of his, and said, ' Miss Nina, I trust, as your 
friend, that you will not read that book. I should lose all 
respect for a lady friend who had read that.' 


" ' Have you read it, Mr. Clayton ? ' said I, 

" 'Yes, Miss Nina/ said he, quite piously. 

" ' What makes you read such bad books ? ; said I, very 

" Then there followed a general fuss and talk ; and the 
gentlemen, you know, would not have their wives or their 
sisters read anything naughty, for the world. They wanted 
us all to be like snow-flakes, and all that. And they were 
quite high, telling they wouldn't marry this, and they 
would n't marry that, till at last I made them a curtsey, 
and said, ' Gentlemen, we ladies are infinitely obliged to 
you, but we don't intend to marry people that read naughty 
books, either. Of course you know snow-flakes don't like 
smut ! ' 

" Now, I really did n't mean anything by it, except to put 
down these men, and stand up for my sex. But Clayton 
took it in real earnest. Tie grew red and grew pale, and 
was just as angry as he could be. Well, the quarrel raged 
about three days. Then, do you know, I made him give 
up, and own that he was in the wrong. There, I think he 
was, too, — don't you ? Don't you think men ought to be 
as good as we are, any way ? " 

"Miss Nina, I should think you would be afraid to ex- 
press yourself so positively." 

" 0, if I cared a sou for any of them, perhaps I should. 
But there is n't one of the train that I would give that for 1 " 
said she, flirting a shower of peanut-shells into the air. 

" Yes, but, Miss Nina, some time or other you must marry 
somebody. You need somebody to take care of the prop- 
erty and place." 

" 0, that 's it, is it ? You are tired of keeping accounts, 
are you, with me to spend the money ? Well, I don't won- 
der. How I pity anybody that keeps accounts ! Is n't it 
horrid, Harry ? Those awful books ! Do you know that 
Mme. Ardaine set out that ' we girls ' should keep account 
of our expenses ? I just tried it two weeks. I had a head- 
ache and weak eyes, and actually it nearly ruined my con- 


stitution. Some how or other, they gave it up, it gave them 
so much trouble. Aud what 's the use ? When money 's 
spent, it 's spent ; and keeping accounts ever so strict won't 
get it back. I am very careful about my expenses. I never 
get anything that I can do without." 

"For instance/' said Harry, rather roguishly, " this bill 
of one hundred dollars for confectionary." 

" Well, you know just how it is, Harry. It 's so horrid 
to have to study ! Girls must have something. And you 
know I didn't get it all for myself; I gave it round to all 
the girls. Then they used to ask me for it, and I could n't 
refuse — and so it went." 

" I did n't presume to comment, Miss Nina. What have 
we here ? — Mme. Les Cartes, $450 ? " 

"0, Harry, that horrid Mme. Les Cartes ! You never 
saw anything like her ! Positively it is not my fault. She 
puts down things I never got, I know she does. Nothing 
in the world but because she is from Paris. Everybody is 
complaining of her. But, then, nobody gets anything any- 
where else. So what can one do, you know ? I assure 
you, Harry, I am economical." 

The young man, who had been summing up the accounts, 
now burst out into such a hearty laugh as somewhat dis- 
concerted the fair rhetorician. 

She colored to her temples. 

"Harry, now, for shame! Positively, you are n't re- 
spectful ! " 

" 0, Miss Nina, on my knees I beg pardon ! " still con- 
tinuing to laugh; "but, indeed, you must excuse me. I 
am positively delighted to hear of your economy, Miss 

"Well, now, Harry, you may look at the bills and see. 
Have n't I ripped up all my silk dresses and had them col- 
ored over, just to economize ? You can see the dyer's bill, 
there ; and Mme. Carteau told me she always expected to 
turn my dresses twice, at least. 0, yes, I have been very 


" I have heard of old dresses turned costing more than 
new ones, Miss Nina." 

" 0, nonsense, Harry ! What should you know of girls' 
things ? But I '11 tell you one thing I 've got, Harry, and 
that is a gold watch for you. There it is," throwing a case 
carelessly towards him; "and there 7 s a silk dress for your 
wife," throwing him a little parcel. "I have sense enough 
to know what a good fellow you are, at any rate. I could n't 
go on as I do, if you did n't rack your poor head fifty ways 
to keep things going straight here at home, for me." 

A host of conflicting emotions seemed to cross the young 
man's face, like a shadow of clouds over a field, as he 
silently undid the packages. His hands trembled, his lips 
quivered, but he said nothing. 

" Come, Harry, don't this suit you? I thought it would." 

" Miss Nina, you are too kind." 

" No, I 'm not, Harry ; I am a selfish little concern, that 's 
a fact," said she, turning away, and pretending not to see 
the feeling which agitated him. 

" But, Harry, was n't it droll, this morning, when all our 
people came up to get their presents ! There was Aunt 
Sue, and Aunt Tike, and Aunt Kate, each one got a new 
sack pattern, in which they are going to make up the prints 
I brought them. In about two days our place will be flam- 
ing with aprons and sacks. And did you see Aunt Rose in 
that pink bonnet, with the flowers ? You could see every 
tooth in her head ! Of course, now they '11 be taken with a 
very pious streak, to go to some camp-meeting or other, to 
show their finery. Why don't you laugh, Harry ? " 

"I do, don't I, Miss Nina?" 

" You only laugh on your face. You don't laugh deep 
down. What 's the matter ? I don't believe it 's good for 
you to read and study so much. Papa used to say that he 
did n't think it was good for — " 

She stopped, checked by the expression on the face of her 

"For servants, Miss Nina, your papa said, I suppose." 


With the quick tact of her sex, Nina perceived that she 
had struck some disagreeable chord in the mind of her 
faithful attendant, and she hastened to change the subject, 
in her careless, rattling way. 

" Why, yes, Harry, study is horrid for yi u, or me either, 
or anybody else, except musty old people, who don't know 
how to do anything else. Did ever anybody look out of 
doors, such a pleasant day as this, and want to study ? 
Think of a bird's studying, now, or a bee ! They don't 
study — they live. Now, I don't want to study — I want 
to live. So, now, Harry, if you '11 just get the ponies and 
go in the woods, I want to get some jessamines, and 
spring beauties, and wild honeysuckles, and all the rest 
of the flowers that I used to get before I went to school." 



The curtain rises on our next scene, and discovers a 
tranquil library, illuminated by the slant rays of the after- 
noon's sun. On one side the room opened by long glass 
windows on to a garden, from whence the air came in per- 
fumed with the breath of roses and honeysuckles. The 
floor covered with white matting, the couches and sofas 
robed in smooth glazed linen, gave an air of freshness 
and coolness to the apartment. The walls were hung 
with prints of the great master-pieces of European art, 
while bronzes and plaster-casts, distributed with taste and 
skill, gave evidence of artistic culture in the general ar- 
rangement. Two young men were sitting together near 
the opened window at a small table, which displayed an 
antique coffee-set of silver, and a silver tray of ices and 
fruits. One of these has already been introduced to the 
notice of our readers, in the description of our heroine in 
the last chapter. 

Edward Clayton, the only son of Judge Clayton, and 
representative of one of the oldest and most distinguished 
families of North Carolina, was in personal appearance 
much what our lively young friend had sketched — tall, 
slender, with a sort of loose-jointedness and carelessness of 
dress, which might have produced an impression of clown- 
ishness, had it not been relieved by a refined and intel- 
lectual expression on the head and face. The upper part 
of the face gave the impression of thoughtfulness and 
strength, with a shadowing of melancholy earnestness ; and 


there was about the eye, in conversation, that occasional 
gleam of troubled wildness which betrays the hypochondriac 
temperament. The mouth was even feminine in the deli- 
cacy and beauty of its lines, and the smile which sometimes 
played around it had a peculiar fascination. It seemed to 
be a smile of but half the man's nature ; for it never rose 
as high as the eyes, or seemed to disturb the dark stillness 
of their thoughtfulness. 

The other speaker was in many respects a contrast ; and 
we will introduce him to our readers by the name of Frank 
Russel. Furthermore, for their benefit, we will premise 
that he was the only son of a once distinguished and 
wealthy, but now almost decayed family, of Virginia. 

It is supposed by many that friendship is best founded 
upon similarity of nature ; but observation teaches that it 
is more common by a union of opposites, in which each 
party is attracted by something wanting in itself. In Clay- 
ton, the great preponderance of those faculties which draw 
a man inward, and impair the efficiency of the outwai-d life, 
inclined him to over-value the active and practical faculties, 
because he saw them constantly attended with a kind of 
success which he fully appreciated, but was unable to 
attain. Perfect ease of manner, ready presence of mind 
under all social exigencies, adroitness in making the most 
of passing occurrences, are qualities which are seldom the 
gift of sensitive and deeply-ihoughtful natures, and which 
for this very reason they arp >ften disposed to over-value. 
Russel was one of those men who have just enough of all the 
higher faculties to appreciate their existence in others, and 
not enough of any one to disturb the perfect availability of 
his own mind. Everything in his mental furnishing was 
always completely under his own control, and on hand for 
use at a moment's notice. From infancy he was noted for 
quick tact and ready reply. At school he was the universal 
factotum, the "good fellow" of the ling, heading all the 
mischief among the boys, and yet walking with exemplary 
gravity on the blind side of the master. Many a scrape 


had he rescued Clayton from, into which he had fallen from 
a more fastidious moral sense, a more scrupulous honor, 
than is for worldly profit either in the boy's or man's 
sphere ; and Clayton, superior as he was, could not help 
loving and depending on him. 

The diviner part of man is often shame-faced and self- 
distrustful, ill at home in this world, and standing in awe 
of nothing so much as what is called common sense ; and 
yet common sense very often, by its own keenness, is able 
to see that these unavailable currencies of another's mind 
are of more worth, if the world only knew it, than the 
ready coin of its own ; and so the practical and the ideal 
nature are drawn together. 

So Clayton and Russel had been friends from boyhood ; 
had roomed together their four years in college ; and, tho' 
instruments of a vastly different quality, had hitherto played 
the concerts of life with scarce a discord. 

In person, Russel was of about the medium size, with a 
well-knit, elastic frame, all whose movements were charac- 
terized by sprightliness and energy. lie had a frank, open 
countenance, clear blue eyes, a high forehead shaded by 
clusters of curling brown hair ; his flexible lips wore a 
good-natured yet half-sarcastic smile. His feelings, though 
not inconveniently deep, were easily touched ; he could be 
moved to tears or to smiles, with the varying humor of a 
friend ; but never so far as to lose his equipoise — or, as he 
phrased it, forget what he was about. 

But we linger too long in description. We had better let 
the reader hear the dramatis personce , and judge for himself. 

" Well, now, Clayton," said Russel, as he leaned back in 
a stuffed leather chair, with a cigar between his fingers, 
" how considerate of them to go off on that marooning party, 
and leave us to ourselves, here ! I say, old boy, how goes 
the world now? — Reading law, hey ?■ — booked to be Judge 
Clayton the second ! Now, my dear fellow, if I had the 
opportunities that you have — only to step into my father's 
shoes — I should be a lucky fellow." 


" Well, you are welcome to all my chances/' said Clay- 
ton, throwing himself on one of the lounges ; "for I begin 
to see that I shall make very little of them." 

" Why, what 's the matter ? — Don't you like the study ? " 

"The study, perhaps, well enough — but not the prac- 
tice. Reading the theory is always magnificent and grand. 
' Law hath her seat in the bosom of God ; her voice is the 
harmony of the world.' You remember we used to declaim 
that. But, then, come to the practice of it, and what do 
you find ? Are legal examinations anything like searching 
after truth ? Does not an advocate commit himself to one- 
sided views of his subject, and habitually ignore all the 
truth on the other side ? Why, if I practised law accord- 
ing to my conscience, I should be chased out of court in a 

" There you are, again, Clayton, with your everlasting 
conscience, which has been my plague ever since you were 
a boy, and I have never been able to convince you what 
a humbug it is ! It's what I call a crotchety conscience — 
always in the way of your doing anything like anybody 
else. I suppose, then, of course, you won't go into polit- 
ical life. — Great pity, too. You'd make a very imposing 
figure as senator. You have exactly the cut for a conscript 
father — one of the old Viri Romas." 

" And what do you think the old Viri Rom» would do in 
Washington ? What sort of a figure do you think Regulus, 
or Quintus Curtius, or Mucius Scasvola, would make, there?" 

" Well, to be sure, the style of political action has altered 
somewhat since those days. If political duties were what 
they were then, — if a gulf would open in Washington, for 
example, — you would be the fellow to plunge in, horse and 
all, for the good of the republic ; or, if anything was to be 
done by putting your right hand in the fire and burning it 
off — or, if there were any Carthaginians who would cut off 
your eyelids, or roll you down hill in a barrel of nails, for 
truth and your country's sake, — you would be on hand for 
any such matter. That 's the sort of foreign embassy that 


you would be after. All these old-fashioned goings on would 
suit you to a T ; but as to figuring in purple and fine linen, 
in Paris or London, as American minister, you would make 
a dismal business of it. But, still, I thought you might 
practise law in a wholesome, sensible way, — take fees, make 
pleas with abundance of classical allusions, show off your 
scholarship, marry a rich wife, and make your children 
princes in the gates — all without treading on the toes of 
your too sensitive moral what-d'-ye-call-ems. But you ? ve 
done one thing like other folks, at least, if all 's true that 
I 've heard." 

" And what is that, pray ? " 

" What 's that ? Hear the fellow, now ! How innocent 
we are ! I suppose you think I have n't heard of your cam- 
paign in New York — carrying off that princess of little flirts, 
Miss Gordon." 

Clayton responded to the charge only with a slight shrug 
and a smile, in which not only his lips but his eyes took part, 
while the color mounted to his forehead. 

" Now, do you know, Clayton," continued Russel, " I like 
that. Do you know I always thought I should detest the 
woman that you should fall in love with ? It seemed to me 
that such a portentous combination of all the virtues as you 
were planning for would be something like a comet — an 
alarming spectacle. Do you remember (I should like to know, 
if you do) just what that woman was to be ? — was to have 
all the learning of a man, all the graces of a woman (I think 
I have it by heart) ; she was to be practical, poetical, pious, 
and everything else that begins with a p ; she was to be 
elegant and earnest ; take deep and extensive views of life ; 
and there was to be a certain air about her, half Madonna, 
half Venus, made of every creature's best. Ah, bless us ! 
what poor creatures we are ! Here comes along our little 
coquette, flirting, tossing her fan ; picks you up like a great, 
solid chip, as you are, and throws you into her chip-basket 
of beaux, and goes on dancing and flirting as before. Are n't 
you ashamed of it, now ? " 


"No. I. am really much like the minister in our town, 
where we fitted for college, who married a pretty Polly 
Peters in his sixtieth year, and, when the elders came to 
inquire if she had the requisite qualifications for a pastor's 
lady, he told them that he did n't think she had. ' But the 
fact is, brethren/ said he, ' though I don't pretend she is a 
saint, she is a very pretty little sinner, and I love her.' 
That 's just my case." 

"Very sensibly said; and, do you know, as I told you 
before, I 'm perfectly delighted with it, because it is acting 
like other fulks. But, then, my dear fellow, do you think 
you have come to anything really solid with this little Venus 
of the sea-foam ? Is n't it much the same as being engaged 
to a cloud, or a butterfly ? One wants a little streak of reality 
about a person that one must take for better or for worse. 
You have a' deep nature, Clayton. You really want a wife 
who will have some glimmering perception of the difference 
between you and the other things that walk and wear coats, 
and are called men." 

"Well, then, really," said Clayton, rousing himself, and 
speaking with energy, " I '11 tell you just what it is : Nina 
Gordon is a flirt and a coquette — a spoiled child, if you will. 
She is not at all the person I ever expected would obtain any 
power over me. She has no culture, no reading, no habits 
of reflection ; but she has, after all, a certain tone and quality 
to her, a certain ' timbre,' as the French say of voices, which 
suits me. There is about her a mixture of energy, individual- 
ity, and shrewdness, which makes her, all uninformed as she 
is, more piquant and attractive than any woman I ever fell in 
with. She never reads ; it is almost impossible to get her to 
read ; but, if you can catch her ear for five minutes, her liter- 
ary judgments have a peculiar freshness and truth. And so 
with her judgment on all other subjects, if you can stop .Vr 
long enough to give you an opinion. As to heart, I think she 
has yet a wholly unawakened nature. She has lived only 
in the world of sensation, and that is so abundant and so 
buoyant in her that the deeper part still sleeps. It is only 


two or three times that I have seen a flash of this under 
nature look from her eyes, and color her voice and intona- 
tion. And I believe — I 'm quite sure — that I am the only 
person in the world that ever touched it at all. I 'm not at 
all sure that she loves me now ; but I 'm almost equally sure 
that she will." 

" They say," said Russel, carelessly, "that she is gener- 
ally engaged to two or three at a time." 

" That may be also," said Clayton, indolently. " I rather 
suspect it to be the case now, but it gives me no concern. 
1 've seen all the men by whom she is surrounded, and I 
know perfectly well there 's not one of them that she cares 
a rush for." 

" Well, but, my dear fellow, how can your extra fastidious 
moral notions stand the idea of her practising this system 
of deception,?" 

" Why, of course, it is n't a thing to my taste ; but, then, 
like the old parson, if I love the ' little sinner,' what am I to 
do ? I suppose you think it a lover's paradox ; yet I assure 
you, though she deceives, she is not deceitful ; though she 
acts selfishly, she is not selfish. The fact is, the child has 
grown up, motherless and an heiress, among servants. She 
has, I believe, a sort of an aunt, or some such relative, who 
nominally represents the head of the family to the eye of the 
world. But I fancy little madam has had full sway. Then 
she has been to a fashionable New York boarding-school, 
and that has developed the talent of shirking lessons, and 
evading rules, with a taste for side-walk flirtation. These 
are all the attainments that I ever heard of being got at a 
fashionable boarding-school, unless it be a hatred of books, 
and a general dread of literary culture." 

" And her estates are — " 

" Nothing very considerable. Managed nominally by an 
old uncle of hers ; really by a very clever quadroon servant, 
who was left her by her father, and who has received an 
education, and has talents very superior to what are common 
to those in his class. He is, in fact, the overseer of her 


plantation, and I believe the most loyal, devoted creature 

" Clayton," said his companion, " this affair might not be 
much to one who takes the world as I do, but for you it may 
be a little too serious. Don't get in beyond your depth." 

"You are too late, Russel, for that — I am in." 

" Well, then, good luck to you, my dear fellow ! And 
now, as we are about it, I may as well tell you that I 'm in 
for it, too. I suppose you have heard of Miss Benoir, of 
Baltimore. Well, she is my fate." 

" And are you really engaged ? " 

" All signed and sealed, and to be delivered next Christ- 

" Let 's hear about her." 

" Well, she is of a good height (I always said I shouldn't 
marry a short woman), — not handsome, but reasonably 
well-looking — very fine manners — knows the world — 
plays and sings handsomely — has a snug little fortune. 
Now, you know I never held to marrying for money and 
nothing else ; but, then, as I 'm situated, I could not have 
fallen in love without that requisite. Some people call this 
heartless. I don't think it is. If I had met Mary Benoir, 
and had known that she had n't anything, why, I should 
have known that it would n't do for me at all to cultivate 
any particular intimacy ; but, knowing she had fortune, I 
looked a little further, and found she had other things, too. 
Now, if that 's marrying for money, so be it. Yours, Clay, 
ton, is a genuine case of falling in love. But, as for me, I 
walked in with my eyes wide open." 

" And what are you going to do with yourself in the world, 
Eussel ? " 

"I must get into practice, and get some foothold there, 
you know ; and then, hey for Washington ! — I 'm to be pres- 
ident, like every other adventurer in these United States. 
Why not I, as well as another man ? " 

"I don't know, certainly," said Clayton, "if you want 
it, and are willing to work hard enough and long enough, 


and pay all the price. I would as soon spend my life walk- 
ing the drawn sword which they say is the bridge to Ma- 
homet's paradise." 

"Ah! ah! I fancy I see you doing it! What a figure 
you 'd make, my dear fellow, balancing and posturing on 
the sword-blade, and making horrid wry faces ! Yet I know 
you 'd be as comfortable there as you would in political life. 
And yet, after all, you are greatly superior to me in every 
respect. It would be a thousand pities if such a man as 
you couldn't have the management of things. But our 
national ship has to be navigated by second-rate fellows, 
Jerry-go-nimbles, like me, simply because we are good in 
dodging and turning. But that 's the way. Sharp 's the 
word, and the sharpest wins." 

" For my part," said Clayton, " I shall never be what the 
world calls a successful man. There seems to be one in- 
scription written over every passage of success in life, as 
far as I 've seen, — ' What shall it profit a man if he gain 
the whole world, and lose his own soul ? ' " 

" I don't understand you, Clayton." 

" Why, it seems to me just this. As matters are going 
on now in our country, I must either lower my standard of 
right and honor, and sear my soul in all its nobler sensibil- 
ities, or I must be what the world calls an unsuccessful man. 
There is no path in life, that I know of, where humbuggery 
and fraud and deceit are not essential to success — none 
where a man can make the purity of his moral nature the first 
object. I see Satan standing in every avenue, saying,- ' All 
these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and wor- 
ship me.' " 

" Why don't you take to the ministry, then, Clayton, at 
once, and put up a pulpit-cushion and big Bible between you 
and the fiery darts of the devil ? " 

" I 'm afraid I should meet him there, too. I could not 
gain a right to speak in any pulpit without some profession 
or pledge to speak this or that, that would be a snare to 
my conscience, by and by. At the door of every pulpit I 


must swear always to find truth in a certain formula ; and 
living, prosperity, success, reputation, will all be pledged 
on my finding it there. I tell you I should, if I followed 
my own conscience, preach myself out of pulpits quicker 
than I should plead out at the bar." 

"Lord help you, Clayton! What will you do? Will 
you settle down on your plantation, and raise cotton and 
sell niggers ? I 'm expecting to hear, every minute, that 
you 've subscribed for the Liberator, and are going to turn 

" I do mean to settle down on my plantation, but not to 
raise cotton or negroes as a chief end of man. I do take 
the Liberator, because I 'rn a free man, and have a right to 
take what I have a mind to. I don't agree with Garrison, 
because I think I know more about the matter, where I 
stand, than he does, or can, where he stands. But it 's his 
right, as an honest man, to say what he thinks ; and I 
should use it in his place. If I saw things as he does, I 
should be an Abolitionist. But I don't." 

"That's a mercy, at least," said Russel, "to a man 
with your taste for martyrdom. But what are you going 
to do ? " 

" What any Christian man should do who finds four hun- 
dred odd of his fellow men and women placed in a state of 
absolute dependence on him. I 'in going to educate and fit 
them for freedom. There is n't a sublimer power on earth 
than God has given to us masters. The law gives us abso- 
lute and unlimited control. A plantation such as a planta- 
tion might be would be 'alight to lighten the gentiles.' 
There is a wonderful and beautiful development locked up 
in this Ethiopian race, and it is worth being a life-object to 
unlock it. The raising of cotton is to be the least of the 
thing. I regard my plantation as a sphere for raising men 
and women, and demonstrating the capabilities of a race." 

" Selah ! " said Russel. 

Clayton looked angry. 

"I beg your pardon, Clayton. This is all superb, sub- 


lime ! There is just one objection to it — it is wholly im- 

" Every good and great thing has been called impossible 
before it is done." 

" Well, let me tell you, Clayton, just how it will be. You 
will be a mark for arrows, both sides. You will offend all 
your neighbors by doing better than they do. You will 
bring your negroes up to a point in which they will meet 
the current of the whole community against them, and 
meanwhile you will get no credit with the Abolitionists. 
They will call you a cut-throat, pirate, sheep-stealer, and all 
the rest of their elegant little list of embellishments, all the 
same. You '11 get a state of things that nobody can man- 
age but yourself, and you by the hardest ; and then you '11 
die, and it '11 all run to the devil faster than you run it up. 
Now, if you would do the thing by halves, it would n't be 
so bad ; but I know you of old. You won't be satisfied with 
teaching a catechism and a few hymns, parrot-wise, which I 
think is a respectable religious amusement for our women. 
You '11 teach 'em all to read, and write, and think, and 
speak. I should n't wonder to hear of an importation of 
black-boards and spelling-books. You '11 want a lyceum 
and debating society. Pray, what does sister Anne say to 
all this ? Anne is a sensible girl now, but I '11 warrant 
you've got her to go in for it." 

" Anne is as much interested as I, but her practical tact 
is greater than mine, and she is of use in detecting difficul- 
ties that I do not see. I have an excellent man, who enters 
fully into my views, who takes charge of the business 
interests of the plantation, instead of one of these scoun- 
drel overseers. There is to be a graduated system of work 
and wages introduced — a system that shall teach the 
nature and rights of property, and train to habits of indus- 
try and frugality, by making every man's acquirements 
equal to his industry and good conduct." 

" And what sort of a support do you expect to make out 


of all this ? Are you going' to live for them, or they for 


? » 

" I shall set them the example of living for them, and 
trust to awaken the good that is in them, in return. The 
strong ought to live for the weak — the cultivated for the 

" Well, Clayton, the Lord help you ! I 'm in earnest now 
— fact ! Though I know you won't do it, yet I wish you 
could. It 's a pity, Clayton, you were born in this world. It 
is n't you, but our planet and planetary ways, that are in 
fault. Your mind is a splendid store-house — -gold and gems 
of Ophir — but they are all up in the fifth story, and no 
staircase to get 'em down into common life. Now, I 've just 
enough appreciation of the sort of thing that 's in you, not to 
laugh at you. Nine out of ten would. To tell you the truth, 
if I were already set up in life, and had as definite a position 
as you have, — family, friends, influence, and means, — why, 
perhaps I might afford to cultivate this style of thing. But, 
I tell you what it is, Clayton, such a conscience as yours is 
cursedly expensive to keep. It 's like a carriage — a fellow 
must n't set it up unless he can afford it. It 's one of the 

"It's a necessary of life, with me," said Clayton, dryly. 

" Well, that 's your nature. I can't afford it. I 've got 
my way to make, I must succeed, and with your ultra 
notions I could n't succeed. So there it is. After all, I 
can be as religious as dozens of your most respectable 
men, who have taken their seats in the night-train for 
Paradise, and keep the daylight for their own business." 

" I dare say you can." 

" Yes, and I shall get all I aim at ; and you, Clayton, will 
be always an unhappy, dissatisfied aspirant after something 
too high for mortality. There 's just the difference between 

The conversation was here interrupted by the return of 
the family party. 



The family party which was now ushered in, consisted 
of Clayton's father, mother, and sister. Judge Clayton was 
a tall, dignified, elderly personage, in whom one recognized, 
at a glance, the gentleman of the old school. His hair, 
snowy white, formed a singular contrast with the bright- 
ness of his blue eyes, whose peculiar acuteness of glance 
might remind one of a falcon. There was something stately 
in the position of the head and the carriage of the figure, 
and a punctilious exactness in the whole air and manner, 
that gave one a slight impression of sternness. The clear, 
sharp blue of his eye seemed to be that of a calm and 
decided intellect, of a logical severity of thought ; and con- 
trasted with the silvery hair with that same expression of 
cold beauty that is given by the contrast of snow mountains 
cutting into the keen, metallic blue of an Alpine sky. One 
should apprehend much to fear from such a man's reason — 
little to hope from any outburst of his emotional nature. 
Yet, as a man, perhaps injustice was done to Judge Clay- 
ton by this first impression ; for there was, deep beneath 
this external coldness, a severely-repressed nature, of the 
most fiery and passionate vehemence. His family affections 
were strong and tender, seldom manifested in words, but 
always by the most exact appreciation and consideration 
for all who came within his sphere. He was strictly and 
impartially just in all the little minutiae of social and domes- 
tic life, never hesitating to speak a truth, or acknowledge 
an error. 


Mrs. Clayton was a high-bred, elderly lady, whose well- 
preserved delicacy of complexion, brilliant dark eyes, and 
fine figure, spoke of a youth of beauty. Of a nature im- 
aginative, impulsive, and ardent, inclining constantly to 
generous extremes, she had thrown herself with passionate 
devotion round her clear-judging husband, as the Alpine 
_rose girdles with beauty the breast of the bright, pure 

Between Clayton and his father there existed an affection 
deep and entire ; yet, as the son developed to manhood, it 
became increasingly evident that they could never move 
harmoniously in the same practical orbit. The nature of 
the son was so veined and crossed with that of the mother, 
that the father, in attempting the age-long and often-tried 
experiment of making his child an exact cop}' of himself, 
found himself extremely puzzled and confused in the oper- 
ation. Clayton was ideal to an excess ; ideality colored 
every faculty of his mind, and swayed all his reasonings, as 
an unseen magnet will swerve the needle. Ideality per- 
vaded his conscientiousness, urging him always to rise 
above the commonly-received and so-called practical in 
morals. Hence, while he worshipped the theory of law, the 
practice filled him with disgust ; and his father was obliged 
constantly to point out deficiencies in reasonings, founded 
more on a keen appreciation of what things ought to be, than 
on a practical regard to what they are. Nevertheless, Clay- 
ton partook enough of his father's strong and steady nature 
to be his mother's idol, who, perhaps, loved this second 
rendering of the parental nature with even more doting 
tenderness than the first. 

Anne Clayton was the eldest of three sisters, and the 
special companion and confidant of the brother ; and, as 
she stands there untying her bonnet-strings, we must also 
present her to the reader. She is a little above the medium 
height, with that breadth and full development of chest 
which one admires in English women. She carries her 
well-formed head on her graceful shoulders with a posi- 


tive, decided air, only a little on this side of haughtiness. 
Her clear brown complexion reddens into a fine glow in 
the cheek, giving one the impression of sound, perfect 
health. The positive outline of the small aquiline nose, 
the large, frank, well-formed mouth, with its clear rows of 
shining teeth, the brown eyes, which have caught some- 
thing of the falcon keenness of the father, are points in the 
picture by no means to be overlooked. Taking her air alto- 
gether, there was an honest frankness about her which 
encouraged conversation, and put one instantly at ease. 
Yet no man in his senses could ever venture to take the 
slightest liberty with Anne Clayton. With all her frank- 
ness, there was ever in her manner a perfectly-defined 
"thus far shalt thou come, and no further." Beaux, suit- 
ors, lovers in abundance, had stood, knelt, and sighed pro- 
testing, at her shrine. Yet Anne Clayton was twenty-seven, 
and unmarried. Everybody wondered why ; and as to that, 
we can only wonder with the rest. Her own account of 
the matter was simple and positive. She did not wish to 
marry — was happy enough without. 

The intimacy between the brother and sister had been 
more than usually strong, notwithstanding marked differ- 
ences of character ; for Anne had not a particle of ideality. 
Sense she had, shrewdness, and a pleasant dash of humor, 
withal ; but she was eminently what people call a practical 
girl. She admired highly the contrary of all this in her 
brother ; she delighted in the poetic-heroic element in him, 
for much the same reason that young ladies used to admire 
Thaddeus of Warsaw, and William Wallace — because it 
was something quite out of her line. In the whole world 
of ideas she had an almost idolatrous veneration for her 
brother ; in the sphere of practical operations she felt free 
to assert, with a certain good-natured positiveness, her own 
superiority. There was no one in the world, perhaps, of 
whose judgment in this respect Clayton stood more in awe. 

At the present juncture of affairs Clayton felt himself 
rather awkwardly embarrassed in communicating to her an 


event which she would immediately feel she had a right 
to know before. A sister of Anne Clayton's positive char- 
acter does not usually live twenty-seven years in constant 
intimacy with a brother like Clayton, without such an attach- 
ment as renders the first announcement of a contemplated 
marriage somewhat painful. Why, then, had Clayton, who 
always unreservedly corresponded with his sister, not kept 
her apprised of his gradual attachment to Nina ? The secret 
of the matter was, that he had had an instinctive conscious- 
ness that he could not present Nina to the practical, clear- 
judging mind of his sister, as she appeared through the mist 
and spray of his imaginative nature. The hard facts of her 
case would be sure to tell against her in any communication 
he might make ; and sensitive people never like the fatigue 
of justifying their instincts. Nothing, in fact, is less capable 
of being justified by technical reasons than those fine in- 
sights into character whereupon affection is built. We have 
all had experience of preferences which would not follow 
the most exactly ascertained catalogue of virtues, and would 
be made captive where there was very little to be said in 
justification of the captivity. 

But, meanwhile, rumor, always busy, had not failed to 
convey to Anne Clayton some suspicions of what was pass- 
ing ; and, though her delicacy and pride forbade any allusion 
to it, she keenly felt the want of confidence, and of course 
was not any more charitably disposed towards the little 
rival for this reason. But now the matter had attained such 
a shape in Clayton's mind that he felt the necessity of ap- 
prising his family and friends. With his mother the task 
was made easier by the abundant hopefulness of her nature, 
which enabled her in a moment to throw herself into the 
sympathies of those she loved. To her had been deputed 
the office of first breaking the tidings to Anne, and she had 
accomplished it during the pleasure-party of the morning. 

The first glance that passed between Clayton and his sis- 
ter, as she entered the room, on her return from the party, 
showed him that she was discomposed and unhappy. She 


did not remain long in the apartment, or seem disposed to 
join in conversation ; and, after a few abstracted moments, 
she passed through the open door into the garden, and began 
to busy herself apparently among her plants. Clayton fol- 
lowed her. He came and stood silently beside her for some 
time, watching her as she picked the dead leaves off her 

" Mother has told you," he said, at length. 

" Yes," said Anne. 

There was a long pause, and Anne picked off dry leaves 
and green promiscuously; threatening to demolish the 

"Anne," said Clayton, "howl wish you could see her!" 

"I 've heard of her," replied Anne, dryly, "through the 

" And what have you heard ? " said Clayton, eagerly. 

"Not such things as I could wish, Edward ; not such as 
I expected to hear of the lady that you would choose." 

" And, pray, what have you heard? Out with it," said 
Clayton, — " let 's know what the world says of her." 

" Well, the world says," said Anne, " that she is a 
coquette, a flirt, a jilt. Prom all I ; ve heard, I should think 
she must be an unprincipled girl." 

" That is hard language, Anne." 

"Truth is generally hard," replied Anne. 

"My dear sister/' said Clayton, taking her hand, and 
seating her on the seat in the garden, "have you lost all 
faith in me ? " 

" 1 think it would be nearer truth," replied Anne, " to say 
that you had lost all faith in me. Why am I the last one to 
know all this ? Why am I to hear it first from reports, and 
every way but from you?. Would I have treated you so ? 
Did I ever have anything that I did not tell you ? Down to 
my very soul I we always told you everything ! " 

" This is true, I own, dear Anne ; but what if you had loved 
some man that you felt sure I should not like ? Now, you 
are a positive person, Anne, and this might happen. Would 


you want to tell me at once ? Would you not, perhaps, wait, 
and hesitate, and put off, for one reason or another, from 
day to day, and find it grow more and more difficult, the 
longer you waited ? " 

" I can't tell," said Anne, bitterly. " I never did love 
any one better than you, — that's the trouble." 

" Neither do I love anybody better than you, Anne. The 
love I have for you is a whole, perfect thing, just as it was. 
See if you do not find me every way as devoted. My 
heart was only opened to take in another love, another 
wholly different ; and which, because it is so wholly different, 
never can infringe on the love I bear to you. And, Anne, 
my dear sister, if you could love her as a part of me — " 

" I wish I could," said Anne, somewhat softened ; " but 
what I 've heard has been so unfavorable ! She is not, in 
the least, the person I should have expected you to fancy, 
Edward. Of all things I despise a woman who trifles with 
the affections of gentlemen." 

" Well, but, my dear, Nina is n't a woman ; she is a child 
— a gay, beautiful, unformed child ; and I 'm sure you 
may apply to her what Pope says : 

' If to her share some female errors fall, 
Look in her face, and you forget them all.' " 

"Yes, indeed," said Anne, "I believe all you men are 
alike — a pretty face bewitches any of you. I thought you 
were an exception, Edward ; but there you are." 

"But, Anne, is this the way to encourage my confi- 
dence ? Suppose I am bewitched and enchanted, you can- 
not disentangle me without indulgence. Say what you will 
about it, the fact is just this — it is my fate to love this child. 
I 've tried to love many women before. I have seen many 
whom I knew no sort of reason why I shouldn't love, — ■ 
handsomer far, more cultivated, more accomplished, — and yet 
I 've seen them without a movement or a flutter of the pulse. 
But this girl has awakened all there is to me. I do not see in 


her what the world sees. I see the ideal image of what she 
can be, what I 'm sure she will be, when her nature is fully 
awakened and developed." 

"Just there, Edward — -just that," said Anne. "You 
never see anything ; that is, you see a glorified image — a 
something that might, could, would, or should be — that is 
your difficulty. You glorify an ordinary boarding-school 
coquette into something symbolic, sublime ; you clothe her 
with all your own ideas, and then fall down to worship 

"Well, my dear Anne, suppose it were so, what then? 
I am, as you say, ideal, — you, real. Well, be it so ; I must 
act according to what is in me. I have a right to my nature, 
you to yours. But it is not every person whom I can ideal 
ize ; and I suspect this is the great reason why I never 
could love some very fine women, with whom I have asso- 
ciated on intimate terms ; they had no capacity of being 
idealized ; they could receive no color from my fancy ; they 
wanted, in short, just what Nina has. She is just like one 
of those little whisking, chattering cascades in the White 
Mountains, and the atmosphere round her is favorable to 

" And you always see her through them." 

" Even so, sister ; but some people I cannot. Why should 
you find fault with me ? It 's a pleasant thing to look through 
a rainbow. Why should you seek to disenchant, if I can be 
enchanted ?" 

"Why," replied Anne, "you remember the man who 
took his pay of the fairies in gold and diamonds, and, after 
he had passed a certain brook, found it all turned to slate- 
stones. Now, marriage is like that brook ; many a poor fel- 
low finds his diamonds turned to slate on the other side ; 
and this is why I put in my plain, hard common sense, 
against your visions. I see the plain facts about this young 
girl ; that she is an acknowledged flirt, a noted coquette and 
jilt ; and a woman who is so is necessarily heartless ; and 


you are too good, Edward, too noble, I have loved you 
too long, to be willing to give you up to such a woman." 

" There, my dear Anne, there are at least a dozen points 
in that sentence to which I don't agree. In the first place, 
as to coquetry, it is n't the unpardonable sin in my eyes — 
that is, under some circumstances." 

" That is, you mean, when Nina Gordon is the coquette ? " 

" No, I don't mean that. But the fact is, Anne, there is so 
little of true sincerity, so little real benevolence and charity, 
in the common intercourse of young gentlemen and ladies 
in society, and our sex, who ought to set the example, are 
so selfish and unprincipled in their ways of treating women, 
that I do not wonder that, now and then, a lively girl, who 
has the power, avenges her sex by playing off our weak 
points. Now, I don't think Nina capable of trifling with a 
real, deep, unselfish attachment — a love which sought her 
good, and was willing to sacrifice itself for her ; but I don't 
believe any such has ever been put at her disposal. There 's 
a great difference between a man's wanting a woman to love 
him, and loving her. Wanting to appropriate a woman as 
a wife, does not, of course, imply that a man loves her, or 
that he is capable of loving anything. All these things 
girls feel, because their instincts are quick ; and they are 
often accused of trifling with a man's heart, when they only 
see through him, and know he has n't any. Besides, love 
of power has always been considered a respectable sin in us 
men ; and why should we denounce a woman for loving her 
kind of power ? " 

" 0, well, Edward, there is n't anything in the world that 
you cannot theorize into beauty. But I don't like co- 
quettes, for all that ; and, then, I 'm told Nina Gordon is 
so very odd, and says and does such very extraordinary 
things, sometimes." 

" Well, perhaps that charms me the more In this con- 
ventional world, where women are all rubbed into one uni- 
form surface, like coins in one's pocket, it 's a pleasure now 
and then to find one who can't be made to do and think liee 


all the rest. You have a little dash of this merit, yourself, 
Anne ; but you must consider that you have been brought 
up with mamma, under her influence, trained and guided 
every hour, even more than you knew. Nina has grown up 
an heiress among servants, a boarding-school girl in New 
York ; and, furthermore, you are twenty-seven and she is 
eighteen, and a great deal may be learned between eighteen 
and twenty-seven." 

" But, brother, you remember Miss Hannah More says, 
— or some of those good women, I forget who : at any rate 
it 's a sensible saying, — ' that a man who chooses his wife 
as he would a picture in a public exhibition-room, should 
remember that there is this difference, that the picture can- 
not go back to the exhibition, but the woman may. 7 You 
have chosen her from seeing her brilliancy in society ; but, 
after all, can you make her happy in the dull routine of a 
commonplace life ? Is she not one of the sort that must 
have a constant round of company and excitement to keep 
her in spirits ? " 

"I think not," said Clayton. "I think she is one of 
those whose vitality is in herself, and one whose freshness 
and originality will keep life anywhere from being common- 
place ; and that, living with us, she will sympathize, natur- 
ally, in all our pursuits." 

" Well, now, don't flatter yourself, brother, that you can 
make this girl over, and bring her to any of your stand- 

"Who — I? Did you think I meditated such an imper- 
tinence ? The last thing I should try, to marry a wife to 
educate her ! It 's generally one of the most selfish tricks 
of our sex. Besides, I don't want a wife who will be a 
mere mirror of my opinions and sentiments. I don't want 
an innocent sheet of blotting-paper, meekly sucking up all 
I say, and giving a little fainter impression of my ideas. 
I want a wife for an alterative ; all the vivacities of life lie 
in differences." 


" Why, surely," said Anne, " one wants one's friends to 
be congenial, I should think." 

"So we do ; and there is nothing- in the world so con- 
genial as differences. To be sure, the differences must be 
harmonious. In music, now, for instance, one does n't want 
a repetition of the same notes, but differing notes that chord. 
Nay, even discords are indispensable to complete harmony. 
Now, Nina has just that difference from me which chords 
with me ; and all our little quarrels — for we have had a good 
many, and I dare say shall have more — are only a sort of 
chromatic passages, — discords of the seventh, leading 
into harmony. My life is inward, theorizing, self-absorbed. 
I am hypochondriac — often morbid. The vivacity and 
acuteness of her outer life makes her just what I need. She 
wakens, she rouses, and keeps me in play ; and her quick 
instincts are often more than a match for my reason. I rev- 
erence the child, then, in spite of her faults. She has taught 
me many things." 

" Well," said Anne, laughing, " I give you up, if it comes 
to that. If you come to talk about reverencing Nina Gor- 
don, I see it 's all over with you, Edward, and I '11 be good- 
natured, and make the best of it. I hope it may all be true 
that you think, and a great deal more. At all events, no 
effort of mine shall be wanting to make you as happy in 
your new relation as you ought to be." 

" There, now, that 's Anne Clayton ! It 's just like you, 
sister, and I could n't say anything better than that. You 
have unburdened your conscience, you have done all you 
can for me, and now very properly yield to the inevitable. 
Nina, I know, will love you ; and, if you never try to advise 
her and influence her, you will influence her very much. 
Good people are a long while learning that, Anne. They 
think to do good to others, by interfering and advising. 
They don't know that all they have to do is to live. When 
I first knew Nina, I was silly enough to try my hand that 
way, myself ; but I 've learned better. Now, when Nina 
comes to us, all that you and mamma have got to do is just 


to be kind to her, and live as you always have lived ; and 
whatever needs to be altered in her, she will alter herself." 

" Well/' said Anne, " I wish, as it is so, that I could see 

" Suppose you write a few lines to her in this letter that 
I am going to write ; and then that will lead in due time 
to a visit." 

" Anything in the world, Edward, that you say." 



A week or two had passed over the head of Nina Gordon 
since she was first introduced to our readers, and during 
this time she had become familiar with the details of her 
home life. Nominally, she stood at the head of her planta- 
tion, as mistress and queen in her own right of all, both in 
doors and out ; but, really, she found herself, by her own 
youth and inexperience, her ignorance of practical details, 
very much in the hands of those she professed to govern. 

The duties of a southern housekeeper, on a plantation, 
are onerous beyond any amount of northern conception. 
Every article wanted for daily consumption must be kept 
under lock and key, and doled out as need arises. For the 
most part, the servants are only grown-up children, with- 
out consideration, forethought, or self-control, quarrelling 
with each other, and divided into parties and factions, hope- 
less of any reasonable control. Every article of wear, for 
some hundreds of people, must be thought of, purchased, 
cut and made, under the direction of the mistress ; and add 
to this the care of young children, whose childish mothers 
are totally unfit to govern or care for them, and we have some 
slight idea of what devolves on southern housekeepers. 

Our reader has seen what Nina was on her return from 
New York, and can easily imagine that she had no idea of 
embracing, in good earnest, the hard duties of such a life. 

In fact, since the death of Nina's mother, the situation of 
the mistress of the family had been only nominally filled by 
her aunt, Mrs. Nesbit. The real housekeeper, in fact, was 


an old mulatto woman, named Katy, who had been trained 
by Nina's mother. Notwithstanding the general inefficiency 
and childishness of negro servants, there often are to be 
found among them those of great practical ability. When- 
ever owners, through necessity or from tact, select such 
servants, and subject them to the kind of training and re- 
sponsibility which belongs to a state of freedom, the same 
qualities are developed which exist in free society. Nina's 
mother, being always in delicate health, had, from necessity, 
been obliged to commit much responsibility to "Aunt 
Katy," as she was called ; and she had grown up under the 
discipline into a very efficient housekeeper. With her tall 
red turban, her jingling bunch of keys, and an abundant 
sense of the importance of her office, she-, was a dignitary 
not lightly to be disregarded. 

It is true that she professed the utmost deference for her 
young mistress, and very generally passed the compliment 
of inquiring what she would have done ; but it was pretty 
generally understood that her assent to Aunt Katy's propo- 
sitions was considered as much a matter of course as the 
queen's to a ministerial recommendation. Indeed, had Nina 
chosen to demur, her prime minister had the power, without 
depai'ting in the slightest degree from a respectful bear- 
ing, to involve her in labyrinths of perplexity without end. 
And, as Nina hated trouble, and wanted, above all things, to 
have her time to herself for her own amusement, she wisely 
concluded not to interfere with Aunt Katy's reign, and to 
get by persuasion and coaxing, what the old body would 
have been far too consequential and opinionated to give to 

In like manner, at the head of all out-door affairs was the 
young quadroon, Harry, whom we introduced in the 'first 
chapter. In order to come fully at the relation in which he 
stood to the estate, we must, after the fashion of historians 
generally, go back a hundred years or so, in order to give 
our readers a fair start. Behold us, therefore, assuming 
historic dignity, as follows. 


Among the first emigrants to Virginia, in its colonial 
days, was one Thomas Gordon, Knight, a distant offshoot 
of the noble Gordon family, renowned in Scottish history. 
Being a gentleman of some considerable energy, and impa- 
tient of the narrow limits of the Old World, where he found 
little opportunity to obtain that wealth which was necessary 
to meet the demands of his family pride, he struck off for 
himself into Virginia. Naturally of an adventurous turn, 
he was one of the first to propose the enterprise which 
afterwards resulted in a settlement on the banks of the 
Chowan Eiver, in North Carolina. Here he took up for 
himself a large tract of the finest alluvial land, and set 
himself to the business of planting, with the energy and 
skill characteristic of his nation ; and, as the soil was new 
and fertile, he soon received a very munificent return for his 
enterprise. Inspired with remembrances of old ancestral 
renown, the Gordon family transmitted in their descent all 
the traditions, feelings, and habits, which were the growth 
of the aristocratic caste from which they sprung. The 
name of Canema, given to the estate, came from an Indian 
guide and interpreter, who accompanied the first Col. Gor- 
don as confidential servant. 

The estate, being entailed, passed down through the colo- 
nial times unbroken in the family, whose wealth, for some 
years, seemed to increase with every generation. 

The family mansion was one of those fond reproductions 
of the architectural style of the landed gentry in England, 
in which, as far as their means could compass it, the planters 
were fond of indulging. 

Carpenters and carvers had been brought over, at great 
expense, from the old country, to give the fruits of their 
skill in its erection ; and it was a fancy of the ancestor who 
built it, to display, in its wood-work, that exuberance of 
new and rare woods with which the American continent was 
supposed to abound. He had made an adventurous voyage 
into South America, and brought from thence specimens of 
those materials more brilliant than rose-wood, and hard as 


ebony, which grow so profusely on the banks of the Ama- 
zon that the natives use them for timber. The floor of the 
central hall of the house was a curiously-inlaid parquet of 
these brilliant materials, arranged in fine block-work, highly 

The outside of the house was built in the old Virginian 
fashion, with two tiers of balconies running completely 
round, as being much better suited to the American climate 
than any of European mode. The inside, however, was 
decorated with sculpture and carvings, copied, many of 
them, from ancestral residences in Scotland, giving to the 
mansion an air of premature antiquity. 

Here, for two or three generations, the Gordon family 
had lived in opulence. During the time, however, of Nina's 
father, and still more after his death, there appeared evi- 
dently on the place signs of that gradual decay which has 
conducted many an old Virginian family to poverty and ruin. 
Slave labor, of all others the most worthless and profitless, 
had exhaiisted the first vigor of the soil, and the proprietors 
gradually degenerated from those habits of energy which 
were called forth by the necessities of the first settlers, and 
everything proceeded with that free-and-easy abandon, in 
which both master and slave appeared to have one common 
object, — that of proving who should waste with most free- 

At Colonel Gordon's death, he had bequeathed, as we 
have already shown, the whole family estate to his daugh- 
ter, under the care of a servant, of whose uncommon intelli- 
gence and thorough devotion of heart he had the most 
ample proof. When it is reflected that the overseers are 
generally taken from a class of whites who are often lower 
in ignorance and barbarism than even the slaves, and that 
their wastefulness and rapacity are a by-word among the 
planters, it is no wonder that Colonel Gordon thought that, 
in leaving his plantation under the care of one so energetic, 
competent, and faithful, as Harry, he had made the best 
possible provision for his daughter. 


Harry was the son of his master, and inherited much of 
the temper and constitution of his father, tempered by the 
soft and genial temperament of the beautiful Eboe mulat- 
tress who was his mother. From this circumstance Harry 
had received advantages of education very superior to what 
commonly fell to the lot of his class. He had also ac- 
companied his master as valet during the tour of Europe, 
and thus his opportunities of general observation had been 
still further enlarged, and that tact by which those of the 
mixed blood seem so peculiarly fitted to appreciate all the 
finer aspects of conventional life, had been called out and 
exercised ; so that it would be difficult in any circle to meet 
with a more agreeable and gentlemanly person. In leaving 
a man of this character, and his own son, still in the bonds 
of slavery, Colonel Gordon was influenced by that passion- 
ate devotion to his daughter which with him overpowered 
every consideration. A man so cultivated, he argued to 
himself, might find many avenues opened' to him in free- 
dom ; might be tempted to leave the estate to other hands, 
and seek his own fortune. He therefore resolved to leave 
him bound by an indissoluble tie for a term of years, 
trusting to his attachment to Nina to make this service 

Possessed of very uncommon judgment, firmness, and 
knowledge of human nature, Harry had found means to ac- 
quire great ascendency over the hands of the plantation; 
and, either through fear or through friendship, there was 
a universal subordination to him. The executors of the 
estate scarcely made even a feint of overseeing him ; and he 
proceeded, to all intents and purposes, with the perfect ease 
of a free man. Everybody, for miles around, knew and re- 
spected him ; and, had he not been possessed of a good 
share of the thoughtful, forecasting temperament derived 
from his Scottish parentage, he might have been completely 
happy, and forgotten even the existence of the chains 
whose weight he never felt. 

It was only in the presence of Tom Gordon — Colonel 


Gordon's lawful son — that he ever realized that he was a 
slave. From childhood, there had been a rooted enmity 
between the brothers, which deepened as years passed on ; 
and, as he found himself, on every return of the young man 
to the place, subjected to taunts and ill-usage, to which 
his defenceless position left him no power to reply, he had 
resolved never to marry, and lay the foundation for a family, 
until such time as he should be able to have the command 
of his own destiny, and that of his household. But the 
charms of a pretty French quadroon overcame the dictates 
of prudence. 

The history of Tom Gordon is the history of many a 
young man grown up under the institutions and in the state 
of society which formed him. Nature had endowed him 
with no mean share of talent, and with that perilous cpiick- 
ness of nervous organization, which, like fire, is a good 
servant, but- a bad master. Out of those elements, with 
due training, might have been formed an efficient and elo- 
cpient public man ; but, brought up from childhood among 
servants to whom his infant will was law, indulged during 
the period of infantile beauty and grace in the full expres- 
sion of every whim, growing into boyhood among slaves 
with but the average amount of plantation morality, his 
passions developed at a fearfully early time of life ; and, 
before his father thought of seizing the reins of authority, 
they had gone out of his hands forever. Tutor after tutor 
was employed on the plantation to instruct him, and left, 
terrified by his temper. The secluded nature of the planta- 
tion left him without that healthful stimulus of society 
which is often a help in enabling a boy to come to the 
knowledge and control of himself. His associates were 
either the slaves, or the overseers, who are generally un- 
principled and artful, or the surrounding whites, who lay 
in a yet lower deep of degradation. For one reason or 
another, it was for the interest of all these to natter his 
vices, and covertly to assist him in opposing and deceiv- 
ing his parents. Thus an early age saw him an adept in 


every low form of vice. In despair, he was at length sent 
to an academy at the North, where he commenced his 
career on the first day by striking the teacher in the 
face, and was consequently expelled. Thence he went to 
another, where, learning caution from experience, he was 
enabled to maintain his foot-hold. There he was a success- 
ful colporteur and missionary in the way of introducing a 
knowledge of bowie-knives, revolvers, and vicious litera- 
ture. Artful, bold, and daring, his residence for a year at a 
school was sufficient to initiate in the way of ruin perhaps 
one fourth of the boys. He was handsome, and, when not 
provoked, good-natured, and had that off-hand way of spend- 
ing money which passes among boys for generosity. The 
simple sons of hard-working farmers, bred in habits of in- 
dustry and frugality, were dazzled and astonished by the 
freedom with which he talked, and drank, and spit, and 
swore. He was a hero in their eye, and they began to 
wonder at the number of things, to them unknown before, 
which went to make up the necessaries of life. From school 
he was transferred to college, and there placed under the 
care of a professor, who was paid an exorbitant sum for 
overlooking his affairs. The consequence was, that while 
many a northern boy, whose father could not afford to pay 
for similar patronage, was disciplined, rusticated, or ex- 
pelled, as the case might be, Tom Gordon exploited glo- 
riously through college, getting drunk every week or 
two, breaking windows, smoking freshmen, heading various 
sprees in different parts of the country, and at last gradu- 
ating nobody knew how, except the patron professor, who 
received an extra sum for the extra difficulties of the case. 
Returned home, he went into a lawyer's office in Raleigh, 
where, by a pleasant fiction, he was said to be reading law, 
because he was occasionally seen at the office during the 
intervals of his more serious avocations of gambling, and 
horse-racing, and drinking. His father, an affectionate but 
passionate man, was wholly unable to control him, and the 
conflicts between them often shook the whole domestic 


fabric. Nevertheless, to the last Colonel Gordon indulged 
the old hope for such cases made and provided, that Tom 
would get through sowing his wild oats, some time, and set- 
tle down and be a respectable man ; in which hope he left 
him the half of his property. Since that time, Tom seemed 
to have studied on no subject except how to accelerate the 
growth of those wings which riches are said to be inclined 
to take, under the' most favorable circumstances. 

As often happens in such cases of utter ruin, Tom Gor- 
don was a much worse character for all the elements of 
good which he possessed. He had sufficient perception of 
right, and sufficient conscience remaining, to make him bit- 
ter and uncomfortable. In proportion as he knew himself 
unworthy of his father's affection and trust, he became jeal- 
ous and angry at any indications of the want of it. He had 
contracted a settled ill-will to his sister, for no other appa- 
rent reason except that the father took a comfort in her 
which he did not in hirn. From childhood, it was Ids habit 
to vex and annoy her in every possible way ; and it was for 
this reason, among many others, that Harry had persuaded 
Mr. John Gordon, Nina's uncle and guardian, to place her 
at the New York boarding-school, where she acquired what 
is termed an education. After finishing her school career, 
she had been spending a few months in a family of a cousin 
of her mother's, and running with loose rein the career of 
fashionable gayety. 

Luckily, she brought home with her unspoiled a genuine 
love of nature, which made the rural habits of plantation 
life agreeable to her. Neighbors there were few. Her uncle's 
plantation, five miles distant, was the nearest. Other fami- 
lies with whom the Gordons were in the habit of exchang- 
ing occasional visits were some ten or fifteen miles distant. 
It was Nina's delight, however, in her muslin wrapper, and 
straw hat, to patter about over the plantation, to chat with 
the negroes among their cabins, amusing- herself with the 
various drolleries and peculiarities to which long absence 
had given the zest of novelty. Then she would call for her 


pony, and, attended by Harry, or some of her servants, 
would career through the woods, gathering' the wild-flowers 
with which they abound ; perhaps stop for a day at her 
uncle's, have a chat and a romp with him, and return the 
next morning. 

In the comparative solitude of her present life her mind 
began to clear itself of some former follies, as water when 
at rest deposits the sediment which clouded it. Apart from 
the crowd, and the world of gayeties which had dizzied her, 
she could not help admitting to herself the folly of much 
she had been doing. Something, doubtless, was added to 
this by the letters of Clayton. The tone of them, so manly 
and sincere, so respectful and kind, so removed either from 
adulation or sentimentalism, had an effect upon her greater 
than she was herself aware of. So Nina, in her positive 
and off-hand way, sat down, one day, and wrote farewell let- 
ters to both her other lovers, and felt herself quite relieved 
by the process. 

A young person could scarce stand more entirely alone, 
as to sympathetic intercourse with relations, than Nina. It 
is true that the presence of her mother's sister in the 
family caused it to be said that she was residing under the 
care of an aunt. 

Mrs. Nesbit, however, was simply one of those well-bred, 
well-dressed lay-figures, whose only office in life seems to be 
to occupy a certain room in a house, to sit in certain chairs 
at proper hours, to make certain remarks at suitable inter- 
vals of conversation. In her youth this lady had run quite 
a career as a belle and beauty. Nature had endowed her 
with a handsome face and figure, and youth and the pleas- 
ure of admiration for some years supplied a sufficient flow 
of animal spirits to make the beauty effective. Early mar- 
ried, she became the mother of several children, who were 
one by one swept into the grave. The death of her hus- 
band, last of all, left her with a very small fortune alone in 
the world ; and, like many in similar circumstances, she was 
content to sink into an appendage to another's family. 


Mrs. Nesbit considered herself very religious ; and, as 
there is a great deal that passes for religion, ordinarily, of 
which she may be fairly considered a representative, we will 
present our readers with a philosophical analysis of the 
article. When young, she had thought only of self in the 
form of admiration, and the indulgence of her animal spirits. 
When married, she had thought of self only in her husband 
and children, whom she loved because they were hers, and 
for no other reason. 

When death swept away her domestic circle, and time 
stole the beauty and freshness of animal spirits, her self- 
love took another form ; and, perceiving that this world was 
becoming to her somewhat passe, she determined to make 
the best of her chance for another. 

Keligion she looked upon in the light of a ticket, which, 
being once purchased, and snugly laid away in a pocket- 
book, is to be produced at the celestial gate, and thus 
secure admission to heaven. 

At a certain period of her life, while she deemed this 
ticket unpurchased, she was extremely low-spirited and 
gloomy, and went through a quantity of theological read- 
ing enough to have astonished herself, had she foreseen it 
in the days of her belle-ship. As the result of all, she at 
last presented herself as a candidate for admission to a 
Presbyterian church in the vicinity, there professing her 
determination to run the Christian race. By the Christian 
race, she understood going at certain stated times to reli- 
gious meetings, reading the Bible and hymn-book at certain 
hours in the day, giving at regular intervals stipulated 
sums to religious charities, and preserving a general state 
of leaden indifference to everybody and everything in the 

She thus fondly imagined that she had renounced the 
world, because she looked back with disgust on gayeties 
for which she had no longer strength or spirits. Nor did 
she dream that the intensity with which her mind travelled 
the narrow world of self, dwelling on the plaits of her caps, 


the cut of her stone-colored satin gowns, the making of her 
tea and her bed, and the saving of her narrow income, was 
exactly the same in kind, though far less agreeable in de- 
velopment, as that which once expended itself in dressing 
and dancing. Like many other apparently negative char- 
acters, she had a pertinacious intensity of an extremely 
narrow and aimless self-will. Her plans of life, small as 
they were, had a thousand crimps and plaits, to every one 
of which she adhered with invincible pertinacity. The poor 
lady little imagined, when she sat, with such punctilious 
satisfaction, while the Rev. Mr. Orthodoxy demonstrated 
that selfishness is the essence of all moral evil, that the 
sentiment had the slightest application to her ; nor dreamed 
that the little, quiet, muddy current of self-will, which ran 
without noise or indecorum under the whole structure of 
her being, might be found, in a future day, to have under- 
mined all her hopes of heaven. Of course, Mrs. Nesbit re- 
garded Nina, and all other lively young people, with a kind 
of melancholy endurance — as shocking spectacles of world- 
liness. There was but little sympathy, to be sure, between 
the dashing, and out-spoken, and almost defiant little Nina, 
and the sombre silver-gray apparition which glided quietly 
about the wide halls of her paternal mansion. In fact, it 
seemed to afford the latter a mischievous pleasure to shock 
her respectable relative on all convenient occasions. Mrs. 
Nesbit felt it occasionally her duty, as she remarked, to call 
her lively niece into her apartment, and endeavor to persuade 
her to read some such volume as Law's Serious Call, or 
Owen on the One Hundred and Nineteenth Psalm ; and to 
give her a general and solemn warning against all the van- 
ities of the world, in which were generally included dressing 
in any color but black and drab, dancing, flirting, writing 
love-letters, and all other enormities, down to the eating of 
pea-nut candy. One of these scenes is just now enacting in 
this good lady's apartment, upon which we will raise the 

Mrs. Nesbit, a diminutive, blue-eyed, fair-complexioned 


little woman, of some five feet high, eat gently swaying in 
that respectable asylum for American old age, commonly 
called a rocking-chair. Every rustle of her silvery silk 
gown, every fold of the snowy kerchief on her neck, every 
plait of her immaculate cap, spoke a soul long retired from 
this world and its cares. The bed, arranged with extremest 
precision, however, was covered with a melange of French 
finery, flounces, laces, among which Nina kept up a con- 
tinual agitation like that produced by a breeze in a flower- 
bed, as she unfolded, turned, and fluttered them, before the 
eyes of her relative. 

" I have been through all this, Nina," said the latter, with 
a melancholy shake of her head, " and I know the vanity of 

"Well, aunty, I haven't been through it, so / don't 

" Yes, my dear, when I was of your age, I used to go to 
balls and parties, and could think of nothing but of dress 
and admiration. I have been through it all, and seen the 
vanity of it." 

" Well, aunt, I want to go through it, and see the vanity 
of it, too. That 's just what I 7 m after. I 'in on the way to 
be as sombre and solemn as you are, but I 'm bound to 
have a good time first. Now, look at this pink brocade ! " 

Had the brocade been a pall, it could scarcely have been 
regarded with a more lugubrious aspect. 

"Ah, child! such a dying world as this! To spend so 
much time and thought on dress ! " 

" Why, Aunt Nesbit, yesterday you spent just two whole 
hours in thinking whether you should turn the breadths of 
your black silk dress upside down, or down side up ; and 
this was a dying world all the time. Now, I don't see that 
it is any better to think of black silk than it is of pink." 

This was a view of the subject which seemed never to 
have occurred to the good lady. 

" But, now, aunt, ao cheer up, and look at this box of 
artificial flowers. You know I thought I 'd bring a stock 


on from New York. .Now, are n't these perfectly lovely ? I 
like flowers that mean something. Now, these are all imi- 
tations of natural flowers, so perfect that you 'd scarcely 
know them from the real. See — there, that 's a moss-rose ; 
and now look at these sweet peas, you 'd think they had 
just been picked ; and, there — that heliotrope, and these 
jessamines, and those orange-blossoms, and that wax 
camelia — " 

"Turn off my eyes from beholding vanity! " said Mrs. 
Nesbit, shutting her eyes, and shaking her head: 

" ' TVhat if we wear the richest vest, — 
Peacocks and flies are better drest ; 
This flesh, with all its glorious forms, 
Must drop to earth, and feed the worms.' " 

" Aunt, I do think you have the most horrid, disgusting 
set of hymns, all about worms, and dust, and such tnings ! " 

"It ; s my duty, child, when I see you so much taken up 
with such sinful finery." 

" Why, aunt, do you think artificial flowers are sinful ? " 

" Yes, dear ; they are a sinful waste of time and money, 
and take off our mind from more important things." 

" Well, aunt, then what did the Lord make sweet peas, 
and roses, and orange-blossoms for ? I 'm sure it ; s only 
doing as he does, to make flowers. He don't make every- 
thing gray, or stone-color. Now, if you only would come 
out in the garden, this morning, and see the oleanders, and 
the craoe myrtle, and the pinks, the roses, and the tulips, 
and th hyacinths, I 'm sure it would do you good." 

" 0, I should certainly catch cold, child, if I went out 
doors. Milly left a crack opened in the window, last night, 
and I ; ve sneezed three or four times since. It will never 
do for me to go out in the garden ; the feeling of the ground 
striking up through my shoes is very unhealthy." 

"Well, at any rate, aunt, I shoidd think, if the Lord 
did n't wish us to wear roses and jessamines, he would not 


have made them. And it is the most natural thing in the 
world to want to wear flowers." 

" It only feeds vanity and a love of display, my dear." 

" I don't think it \s vanity, or a love of display. I should 
want to dress prettily, if I were the only person in the world. 
I love pretty things because they are pretty. I like to wear 
them because they make me look pretty." 

" There it is, child ; you want to dress up your poor per- 
ishing body to look pretty — that 's the thing ! " 

" To be sure I do. Why should n't I ? I mean to look as 
pretty as I can, as long as I live." 

" You seem to have quite a conceit of your beauty ! " said 
Aunt Nesbit. 

" Well, I know I am pretty. 1 7 m not going to pretend I 
don't. I like my own looks, now, that 's a fact. I ; m not 
like one of your Greek statues, I know. I 'm not wonder- 
fully handsome, nor likely to set the world on fire with my 
beauty. I 'm just a pretty little thing ; and I like flowers 
and laces, and all of those things ; and I mean to like them, 
and I don't think there '11 be a bit of religion in my not lik- 
ing them ; and as for all that disagreeable stuff about the 
worms, that you are always telling me, I don't think it does 
me a particle of good. And, if religion is going to make 
me so poky, I shall put it off as long as I can." 

" I used to feel just as you do, dear, but I 've seen the 
folly of it!" 

" If I 've got to lose my love for everything that is bright, 
everything that is lively, and everything that is pretty, and 
like to read such horrid stupid books, why, I 'd 1 ther be 
buried, and done with it ! " 

" That 's the opposition of the natural heart, my dear." 

The conversation was here interrupted by the entrance of 
a bright, curly-headed mulatto boy, bearing Mrs. Nesbit's 
daily luncheon. 

" 0, here comes Tomtit," said Nina ; "now for a scene ! 
Let 's see what he has forgotten, now." 

Tomtit was, in his way, a great character in the mansion. 


He and his grandmother were the property of Mrs. Nesbit. 
His true name was no less respectable and methodical than 
that of Thomas ; but, as he was one of those restless and 
effervescent sprites, who seem to be born for the confusion 
of quiet people, Nina had rechristened him Tomtit, which 
sobriquet was immediately recognized by the whole house- 
hold as being eminently descriptive and appropriate. A 
constant ripple and eddy of drollery seemed to pervade his 
whole being ; his large, saucy black eyes had always a 
laughing fire in them, that it was impossible to meet with- 
out a smile in return. Slave and property though he was, 
yet the first sentiment of reverence for any created thing 
seemed yet wholly unawakened in his curly pate. Breezy, 
idle, careless, flighty, as his woodland namesake, life to 
him seemed only a repressed and pent-up ebullition of animal 
enjoyment ; and almost the only excitement of Mrs. Nesbit's 
quiet life was her chronic controversy with Tomtit. Forty 
or fifty times a day did the old body assure him "that she 
was astonished at his conduct ; " and as many times would 
he reply by showing the whole set of his handsome teeth, 
on the broad grin, wholly inconsiderate of the state of des- 
pair into which he thus reduced her. 

On the present occasion, as he entered the room, his eye 
was caught by the great display of finery on the bed ; and, 
hastily dumping the waiter on the first chair that occuiTed, 
with a flirt and a spring as lithe as that of a squirrel, he 
was seated in a moment astride the foot-board, indulging in 
a burst of merriment. 

" Good law, Miss Nina, whar on earth dese yer come 
from ? Good law, some on 'em for me, is n't 'er ? " 

"You see that child!" now said Mrs. Nesbit, rocking 
back in her chair with the air of a martyr. " After all my 
talkings to him ! Nina, you ought not to allow that ; it just 
encourages him! " 

" Tom, get down, you naughty creature you, and get the 
stand and put the waiter on it. Mind yourself, now ! " said 
Nina, laughing. 


Tomtit cut a somerset from the foot-board to the floor, 
and, striking up, on a very high key, " I '11 bet my money 
on a hob-tail nag-," he danced out a small table, as if it 
had been a partner, and deposited it, with a jerk, at the side 
of Mrs. Nesbit, who aimed a cuff at his ears ; but, as he 
adroitly ducked his head, the intended blow came down 
upon the table with more force than was comfortable to the 

"I believe that child is made of air! — I never can hit 
him ! " said the good lady, waxing red in the face. " He is 
enough to provoke a saint ! " 

"So he is, aunt; enough to provoke two saints like you 
and me. Tomtit, you rogue," said she, giving a gentle pull 
to a handful of his curly hair, " be good, now, and I '11 show 
you the pretty things, by and by. Come, put the waiter on 
the table, now ; see if you can't walk, for once ! " 

Casting down his eyes with an irresistible look of mock 
solemnity, Tomtit marched with the waiter, and placed it 
by his mistress. 

The good lady, after drawing off her gloves and making 
sundry little decorous preparations, said a short grace over 
her meal, during which time Tomtit seemed to be holding 
his sides with repressed merriment ; then, gravely laying hold 
of the handle of the teapot she stopped short, gave an 
exclamation, and flirted her fingers, as she felt it almost 
scalding hot. 

"Tomtit, I do believe you intend to burn me to death, 
some day ! " 

" Laws, missus, dat are hot ? 0, sure I was tickler to set 
the nose round to the fire." 

"No, you didn't! you stuck the handle right into the 
fire, as you 're always doing ! " 

" Laws, now, wonder if I did," said Tomtit, assuming an 
abstracted appearance. " 'Pears as if never can 'member 
which dem dare is nose, and which handle. Now, I 's a 
studdin on dat dare most all de morning — was so," said 


he, gathering confidence, as he saw, by Nina's dancing 
eyes, how greatly she was amused. 

"You need a sound whipping, sir — that's what you 
need ! " said Mrs. Xesbit, kindling up in sudden wrath. 

" 0, I knows it," said Tomtit. " We 's unprofitable ser- 
vants, all on us. Lord's marcy that wc an't 'sumed, all on 
us ! " 

Xina was so completely overcome by this novel applica- 
tion of the text which she had heard her aunt laboriously 
drumming into Tomtit, the Sabbath before, that she laughed 
aloud, Avith rather uproarious merriment. 

"0, aunt, there 's no use! He don't know anything! 
He 's nothing but an incarnate joke, a walking hoax ! " 

"No, I does n't know nothing, Miss Xina," said Tomtit, 
at the same time looking out from under his long eyelashes. 
" Don't know nothing at all — never can." 

"Well, now, Tomtit," said Mrs. Xesbit, drawing out a 
little blue cowhide from under her chair, and looking at 
him resolutely, " you see, if this teapot handle is hot again, 
I '11 give it to you ! Do you hear ? " 

"Yes, missis," said Tomtit, with that indescribable sing- 
song of indifference, which is so common and so provoking 
in his class. 

" And, now, Tomtit, you go down stairs and clean the 
knives for dinner." 

" Yes, missis," said he, pirouetting towards the door. 
And once in the passage, he struck up a vigorous " 0, I 'in 
going to glory, won't you go along with me ; " accompany- 
ing himself, by slapping his own sides, as he went clown two 
stairs at a time. 

" Going to glory ! " said Mrs. Xesbit, rather shortly ; " he 
looks like it, I think ! It 's the third or fourth time that that 
child has blistered my fingers with this teapot, and I know 
he does it on purpose ! So ungrateful, when I spend my 
time, teaching him, hour after hour, laboring with him so ! 
I declare, I don't believe these children have got any 
souls ! " 


"Well, aunt, I declare, I should think you'd get out of 
all patience with him ; yet he 's so funny, I cannot, for the 
life of me, help laughing." 

Here a distant whoop on the staircase, and a tempestuous 
chorus to a methodist hymn, with the words, " come, my 
loving brethren," announced that Tomtit was on the return ; 
and very soon, throwing open the door, he marched in, with 
an air of the greatest importance. 

" Tomtit, did n't I tell you to go and clean the knives ? " 

" Law, missis, come up here to bring Miss Nina's love- 
letters," said he, producing two or three letters. " Good' 
law, though," said he, checking himself, " forgot to put 
them on a waity ! " and, before a word could be said, he 
was out of the room and down stairs, and at the height of 
furious contest with the girl who was cleaning the silver, 
for a waiter to put Miss Nina's letters on. 

" Dar, Miss Nina," appealing to her when she appeared, 
" Rosa won't let me have no waity ! " 

" I could pull your hair for you, you little image ! " said 
Nina, seizing the letters from his hands, and laughing while 
she cuffed his eai'S. 

" Well," said Tomtit, looking after her with great solem- 
nity, " missis in de right on 't. An't no kind of order 
in this here house, 'pite of all I can do. One says put* let- 
ters on waity. Another one won't let you have waity to 
put letters on. And, finally, Miss Nina, she pull them all 
away. Just the way things going on in dis yer house, all 
the time ! I can't help it ; done all I can. Just the way 

missus says 

! " 

There was one member of Nina's establishment of a 
character so marked that we cannot refrain from giving her 
a separate place in our picture of her surroundings, — and 
this was Milly, the waiting-woman of Aunt Nesbit. 

Aunt Milly, as she was commonly called, was a tall, broad- 
shouldered, deep-chested African woman, with a fulness 
of figure approaching to corpulence. Her habit of standing 
and of motion was peculiar and majestic, reminding one of 


the Scripture expression " upright as the palm-tree." Her 
skin was of a peculiar blackness and softness, not unlike 
black velvet. Her eyes were large, full, and dark, and had 
about them that expression of wishfulness and longing 
which one may sometimes have remarked in dark eyes. 
Her mouth was large, and the lips, though partaking of the 
African fulness, had, nevertheless, something decided and 
energetic in their outline, which was still further seconded 
by the heavy moulding of the chin. A frank smile, which 
was common with her, disclosed a row of most splendid 
and perfect teeth. Her hair, without approaching to the 
character of the Anglo-Saxon, was still different from the 
ordinary woolly coat of the negro, and seemed more like 
an infinite number of close-knotted curls, of brilliant, 
glossy blackness. 

The parents of Milly were prisoners taken in African 
wars ; and she was a fine specimen of one of those warlike 
and splendid races, of whom, as they have seldom been re- 
duced to slavery, there are but few and rare specimens 
among the slaves of the south. 

Her iisual head-dress was a high turban, of those brilliant 
colored Madras handkerchiefs in which the instinctive taste 
of the dark races leads them to delight. Milly's was 
always put on and worn with a regal air, as if it were the 
coronet of the queen. For the rest, her dress consisted of 
a well-fitted gown of dark stuff, of a quality somewhat finer 
than the usual household apparel. A neatly-starched white 
muslin handkerchief folded across her bosom, and a clean 
white- apron, completed her usual costume. 

No one could regard her, as a whole, and not feel their 
prejudice in favor of the exclusive comeliness of white races 
somewhat shaken. Placed among the gorgeous surround- 
ings of African landscape and scenery, it might be doubted 
whether any one's taste could have desired, as a completion 
to her appearance, to have blanched the glossy skin whose 
depth of coloring harmonizes so well with the intense and 
fiery glories of a tropical landscape. 


In character, Milly was worthy of her remarkable exter- 
nal appearance. Heaven had endowed her with a soul as 
broad and generous as her ample frame. Her passions 
rolled and burned in her bosom with a tropical fervor ; a 
shrewd and abundant mother wit, united with a vein of 
occasional drollery, gave to her habits of speech a quaint 
. A native adroitness gave an unwonted command over 
all the functions of her'fine body ; so that she was endowed 
with that much-coveted property which the New Englander 
denominates " faculty," which means the intuitive ability 
to seize at once on the right and best way of doing every- 
thing which is to be done. At the same time, she was pos- 
sessed of that high degree of self-respect which led her to 
be incorruptibly faithful and thorough in all she undertook ; 
less, as it often seemed, from any fealty or deference to 
those whom she served, than from a kind of native pride in 
well-doing, which led her to deem it beneath herself to 
slight or pass over the least thing which she had undertaken. 
Her promises were inviolable. Her owners always knew 
that what she once said would be done, if it were within 
the bounds of possibility. 

The value of an individual thus endowed in person and 
character may be easily conceived by those who understand 
how rare, either among slaves or freemen, is such a combi- 
nation. Milly was, therefore, always considered in the 
family as a most valuable piece of property, and treated 
with more than common consideration. 

As a mind, even when uncultivated, will ever find its level, 
it often happened that Milly's amount of being and force 
of character gave her ascendency even over those who were 
nominally her superiors. As her ways were commonly 
found to be the best ways, she was left, in most cases, to 
pursue them without opposition or control. But, favorite 
as she was, her life had been one of deep sorrows. She 
had been suffered, it is true, to contract a marriage with a 
very finely-endowed mulatto man, on a plantation adjoining 


her owner's, by whom she had a numerous family of chil- 
dren, who inherited all her fine physical and mental endow- 
ments. With more than usual sensibility and power of 
reflection, the idea that the children so dear to her were 
from their birth not her own, — that they were, from the first 
hour of their existence, merchantable articles, having a fixed 
market value in proportion to every excellence, and liable 
to all the reverses of merchantable g-oods, — sank with deep 
weight into her mind. Unfortunately, the family to which 
she belonged being reduced to poverty, there remained, 
often, no other means of making up the deficiency of in- 
come than the annual sale of one or two negroes. Milly's 
children, from their fine developments, were much-coveted 
articles. Their owner was often tempted by extravagant 
offers for them ; and therefore, to meet one crisis or another 
of family difficulties, they had been successively sold from 
her. At first, she had met this doom with almost the 
ferocity of a lioness ; but the blow, oftentimes repeated, 
had brought with it a dull endurance, and Christianity had 
entered, as it often does with the slave, through the rents 
and fissures of a broken heart. Those instances of piety 
which are sometimes, though rarely, found among slaves, 
and which transcend the ordinary development of the best- 
instructed, are generally the results of calamities and afflic- 
tions so utterly desolating as to force the soul to depend on 
God alone. But, where one soul is thus raised to higher 
piety, thousands are crushed in hopeless imbecility. 



Several miles from the Gordon estate, on an old and 
somewhat decayed plantation, stood a neat log cabin, whose 
external aspect showed both taste and care. It was almost 
enveloped in luxuriant wreaths of yellow jessamine, and 
garlanded with a magnificent lamarque rose, whose cream- 
colored buds and flowers contrasted beautifully with the 
dark, polished green of the finely-cut leaves. 

The house stood in an enclosure formed by a high hedge 
of the American holly, whose evergreen foliage and scarlet 
berries made it, at all times of the year, a beautiful object. 
Within the enclosure was a garden, carefully tended, and 
devoted to the finest fruits and flowers. 

This little dwelling, so different in its air of fanciful neat- 
ness from ordinary southern cabins, was the abode of 
Harry's little wife. Lisette, which was her name, was the 
slave of a French Creole woman, to whom a plantation had 
recently fallen by inheritance. 

She was a delicate, airy little creature, formed by a mix- 
ture of the African and French blood, producing one of 
those fanciful, exotic combinations, that give one the same 
impression of brilliancy and richness that one receives from 
tropical insects and flowers. From both parent races she 
was endowed with a sensuous being exquisitely quick and 
fine, — a nature of everlasting childhood, with all its fresh- 
ness of present life, all its thoughtless, unreasoning fear- 
lessness of the future. 

She stands there at her ironing-table, just outside her cot- 


tage door, singing gayly at her work. Her round, plump, 
childish form is shown to advantage by the trim blue 
basque, laced in front, over a chemisette of white linen. 
Her head is wreathed with a gay turban, from which escapes, 
now and then, a wandering curl of her silky black hair. 
Her eyes, as she raises them, have the hazy, dreamy lan- 
guor, which is so characteristic of the mixed races. Her 
little, childish hands are busy, with nimble fingers adroitly 
plaiting and arranging various articles of feminine toilet, 
too delicate and expensive to have belonged to those in 
humble circumstances. She ironed, plaited, and sung, with 
busy care. Occasionally, however, she would suspend her 
work, and, running between the flower-borders to the hedge, 
look wistfully along the road, shading her eyes with her 
hand. At last, as she saw a man on horseback approach- 
ing, she flew lightly out, and ran to meet him. 

" Harry, Harry ! You 've come, at last. I 'm so glad ! 
And what have you got in that paper ? Is it anything for 

He held it up, and shook it at her, while she leaped after it. 

" No, no, little curiosity ! " he said, gayly. 

" I know it 's something for me," said she, with a pretty, 
half-pouting air. 

" And why do you know it 's for you ? Is everything to 
be for you in the world, you little good-for-nothing ? " 

" Good-for-nothing ! " with a toss of the gayly-turbaned 
little head. "You may well say that, sir! Just look at 
the two dozen shirts I 've ironed, since morning ! Come, 
now, take me up ; I want to ride." 

Harry put out the toe of his boot and his hand, and, with 
an adroit spring, she was in a moment before him, on his 
horse's neck, and, with a quick turn, snatched the paper 
parcel from his hand. 

" Woman's curiosity ! " said he. 

" Well, I want to see what it is. Dear me, what a 'tight 
string ! 0, I can't break it ! Well, here it goes ; I '11 tear 


a hole in it, anyhow. 0, silk, as I live ! Aha ! tell me 
now this is n't for me, you bad thing, you ! '' 

" Why, how do you know it is n't to make me a summer 
coat ? " 

" Summer coat ! — likely story ! Aha ! I 've found you 
out, mister ! But, come, do make the horse canter ! I want 
to go fast. Make him canter, do ! " 

Harry gave a sudden jerk to the reins, and in a minute 
the two were flying off as if on the wings of the wind. 
On and on they went, through a small coppice of pines, 
while the light-hearted laugh rang on the breeze behind 
them. Now they are lost to view. In a few minutes, 
emerging from the pine woods in another direction, they 
come sweeping, gay and laughing, up to the gate. To 
fasten the horse, to snatch the little wife on his shoulder, 
and run into the cottage with her, seemed the work only of 
a moment ; and, as he set her down, still laughing, he ex- 

" There, go, now, for a pretty little picture, as you are ! 
I have helped them get up les tableaux vivans, at their great 
houses ; but you are my tableau. You are n't good for much. 
You are nothing but a humming-bird, made to live on 
honey ! " 

" That 's what I am ! " said the little one. " It takes a 
great deal of honey to keep me. I want to be praised, flat- 
tered, and loved, all the time. It isn't enough to have you 
love me. I want to hear you tell me so every day, and 
hour, and minute. And I want you always to admire me, 
and praise everything that I do. Now — " 

" Particularly when you tear holes in packages ! " said 

" 0, my silk — my new silk dress !" said Lisette, thus 
reminded of the package which she held in her hand. 
" This hateful string ! How it cuts my fingers ! I will 
break it ! I '11 bite it in two. Harry, Harry, don't you see 
how it hurts my fingers ? Why don't you cut it ? " 

A nd the little sprite danced about the cottage floor, tear- 


ing the paper, and tugging- at the string, like an enraged 
humming-bird. Harry came laughing behind her, and, tak- 
ing hold of her two hands, held them quite still, while he 
cut the string of the parcel, and unfolded a gorgeous plaid 
silk, crimson, green, and orange. 

"There, now, what do you think of that ? Miss Nina 
brought it, when she came home, last week." 

" 0, how lovely ! Is n't she a beauty ? Is n't she good ? 
How beautiful it is ! Dear me, dear me ! how happy I am ! 
How happy ice are ! — an't we, Harry ? " 

A shadow came over Harry's forehead as he answered, 
with a half-sigh, 

" Yes." 

" I was up at three o'clock, this morning, on purpose to 
get all my ironing done to-day, because I thought you were 
to come home to-night. Ah ! ah ! you don't know what a 
supper I 've got ready ! You '11 see, by and by. I 'm going 
to do something uncommon. You mustn't look in that 
other room, Harry — you must n't ! " 

" Mustn't I ? " said Harry, getting up, and going to the 

"There, now! who's curiosity now, I wonder!" said 
she, springing nimbly between him and the door. " No, 
you shan't go in, though. There, now ; don't, don't ! Be 
good now, Harry ! " 

" Well, I may as well give up first as last. This is your 
house, not mine, I suppose," said Harry. 

"Mr. Submission, how meek we are, all of a sudden! 
Well, while the fit lasts, you go to the spring and get me 
some water to fill this tea-kettle. Off with you, now, this 
minute ! Mind you don't stop to play by the way ! " 

And, while Harry is gone to the spring', we will follow the 
wife into the forbidden room. Very cool and pleasant it 
is, with its white window-curtains, its matted floor, and 
displaying in the corner that draped feather-bed, with its 
ruffled pillows and fringed curtains, which it is the great 
ambition of the southern cabin to attain and maintain. 


The door, which opened on to a show of most brilliant 
flowers, was overlaid completely by the lamarque rose we 
have before referred to ; and large clusters of its creamy 
blossoms, and wreaths of its dark-green leaves, had been 
enticed in and tied to sundry nails and pegs by the small 
hands of the little mistress, to form an arch of flowers and 
roses. A little table stood in the door, draped with a spot- 
less damasked table-cloth, fine enough for the use of a prin- 
cess, and only produced by the little mistress on festive 
occasions. On it were arranged dishes curiously trimmed 
with moss and vine-leaves, which displayed strawberries 
and peaches, with a pitcher of cream and one of whey, 
small dishes of curd, delicate cakes and biscuit, and fresh 
golden butter. 

After patting and arranging the table-cloth, Lisette tripped 
gayly around, and altered here and there the arrangement of 
a dish, occasionally stepping back, and cocking her little 
head on one side, much like a bird, singing gayly as she did 
so ; then she would pick a bit of moss from this, and a 
Sower from that, and retreat again, and watch the effect. 

" How surprised he will be ! " she said to herself. Still 
humming a tune in a low, gurgling undertone, she danced 
hither and thither, round the apartment. First she gave the 
curtains a little shake, and, unlooping one of them, looped 
it up again, so as to throw the beams of the evening sun on 
the table. 

" There, there, there ! how pretty the light falls through 
those nasturtions ! I wonder if the room smells of the 
mignonette. I gathered it when the dew was on it, and 
they say that will make it smell all day. Now, here 's 
Harry's book-case. Dear me ! these flies ! How they do 
get on to everything ! Shoo, shoo ! now, now ! " and, 
catching a gay bandana handkerchief from the drawer, she 
perfectly exhausted herself in flying about the room in pur- 
suit of the buzzing intruders, who soared, and dived, and 
careered, after the manner of flies in general, seeming deter- 
mined to go anywhere but out of the door, and finally were 


seen brushing- their wings and licking their feet, with great 
alertness, on the very topmost height of the sacred bed-cur- 
tains ; and as just this moment a glimpse was caught of 
Harry returning from the spring, Lisette was obliged to 
abandon the chase, and rush into the other room, to prevent 
a premature development of her little tea-tableau. Then a 
small, pug-nosed, black teakettle came on to the stage of 
action, from some unknown cupboard ; and Harry had to fill 
it with water, and of course spilt the water on to the ironing- 
table, which made another little breezy, chattering commo- 
tion ; and then the fiat-irons were cleared away, and the pug- 
nosed kettle reigned in their stead on the charcoal brazier. 

"Now, Harry, was ever such a smart wife as I am? 
Only think, besides all the rest that I 've done, I 've ironed 
your white linen suit, complete ! Xow, go put it on. Xot 
in there ! not in there ! " she said, pushing him away from 
the door. "You can't go there, yet. You'll do well 
enough out here." 

And away she went, singing through the garden walks ; 
and the song, floating back behind her, seemed like an odor 
brushed from the flowers. The refrain came rippling in at 
the door — 

" Me think not what to-morrow bring; 
Me happy, so me sing ! " 

" Poor little thing ! " said Harry to himself; " why should 
I try to teach her anything ? " 

In a few minutes she was back again, her white apron 
thrown over her arm, and blossoms of yellow jessamine, 
spikes of blue lavender, and buds of moss-roses, peeping out 
from it. She skipped gayly along, and deposited her treasure 
on the ironing-table ; then, with a zealous, bustling ear- 
nestness, which characterized everything she did, she began 
sorting them into two bouquets, alternately talking and 
singing, as she did so, 

" Come on, ye rosy hours, 
All joy and gladness bring ! " 


" You see, Harry, you 're going- to have a bouquet to put 
into the button-hole of that coat. It will make you look so 
handsome ! There, now — there, now, 

" We '11 strew the way with flowers, 
And merrily, merrily sing." 

Suddenly stopping, she looked at him archly, and said, 
" You can't tell, now, what I 'm doing all this for ! " 

"There's never any telling what you women do any- 
thing for." 

"Do hear him talk — so pompous! Well, sir, it's for 
your birthday, now. Aha ! you thought, because I can't 
keep the day of the month, that I did n't know anything 
about it ; but I did. And I have put down now a chalk- 
mark every day, for four weeks, right under where I keep 
my ironing-account, so as to be sure of it. And I 've been 
busy about it ever since two o'clock this morning. And 
now — - there, the tea-kettle is boiling ! " — and away she 
flew to the door. 

" 0, dear me ! — dear me, now ! — I 've killed myself, now, 
I have!" she cried, hol'ding up one of her hands, and flirt- 
ing it up in the air. " Dear me ! who knew it was so hot ? " 

" I should think a little woman that is so used to the 
holder might have known it," said Harry, as he caressed 
the little burnt hand. 

" Come, now, let me carry it for you," said Harry, " and 
I '11 make the tea, if you '11 let me go into that mysterious 

"Indeed, no, Harry — I'm going to do everything my- 
self; " and, forgetting the burnt finger, Lisette was off in a 
moment, and back in a moment with a shining teapot in 
her hand, and the tea was made. And at last the mys- 
terious door opened, and Lisette stood with her eyes fixed 
upon Harry, to watch the effect. 

" Superb ! — magnificent !• — splendid ! Why, this is good 
enough for a king ! And where did you get all these 
things ? " said Harry. 


" 0, out of our garden — all but the peaches. Those old 
Mist gave me — they come from Florida. There, now, you 
laughed at me, last summer, when I set those strawberry- 
vines, and made all sorts of fun of me. And what do you 
think now ? " 

"Think! I think you're a wonderful little thing — a 
perfect witch." 

"Come, now, let's sit down, then — you there, and I 
here." And, . opening the door of the bird-cage, which 
hung in the lamarque rose-bush, "Little Button shall come, 

Button, a bright yellow canary, with a smart black tuft 
upon his head, seemed to understand his part in the little 
domestic scene perfectly ; for he stepped obediently upon 
the finger which was extended to him, and was soon sitting 
quite at his ease on the mossy edge of one of the dishes, 
pecking at the strawberries. 

"And, now, do tell me," said Lisette, "all about Miss 
Nina. How does she look ? " 

"Pretty and smart as ever," said Harry. "Just the 
same witchy, wilful ways with her." 

" And did she show you her dresses ? " 

" 0, yes ; the whole." 

" 0, do tell me about them, Harry — do ! " 

" Well, there 's a lovely pink gauze, covered with span- 
gles, to be worn over white satin." 

" With flounces ? " said Lis-ette, earnestly. 

" With flounces." 

" How many ? " 

" Really, 1 don't remember." 

" Don't remember how many flounces ? Why, Harry, 
how stupid ! Say, Harry, don't you suppose she will let 
me conic; and look at her things ? " 

" 0, yes, dear, I don't doubt she will ; and that will save 
my making a gazette of myself." 

" 0, when will you take me there, Harry ? " 

" Perhaps to-morrow, dear. And now," said Harry, 


"that you have accomplished your surprise upon me, I 
have a surprise, in return, for you. You can't guess, now, 
what Miss Nina brought for me." 

" No, indeed ! What ? " said Lisette, springing up ; "do 
tell me — quick.' 7 

"Patience — patience ! " said Harry, deliberately fumbling 
in his pocket, amusing himself with her excited air. But 
who should speak the astonishment and rapture which 
widened Lisette's dark eyes, when the watch was pro- 
duced ? She clapped her hands, and danced for joy, to the 
imminent risk of upsetting the table, and all the things 
on it. 

" I do think we are the most fortunate people — you and 
I, Harry ! Everything goes just as we want it to — does n't 
it, now ? " 

Harry's assent to this comprehensive proposition was 
much less fervent than suited his little wife. 

" Now, what 's the matter with you ? What goes wrong ? 
Why don't you rejoice as I do ? " said she, coming and seat- 
ing herself down upon his knee. "Come, now, you've 
been working too hard, I know. I 'm going to sing to you, 
now ; you want something to cheer you up." And Lisette 
took down her banjo, and sat down in the doorway under 
the arch of lamarque roses, and began thrumming gayly. 

" This is the nicest little thing, this banjo ! " she said ; 
"I would n't change it for all the guitars in the world. 
Now, Harry, I 'm going to sing something specially for 
you." And Lisette sung: 

'.' What are the joys of white man, here, 
What are his pleasures, say? 
He great, he proud, he haughty fine, 
While I my banjo play : 

He sleep all day, he wake all night ; 
He full of care, his heart no light ; 
He great deal want, he little get ; 
He sorry, so he fret. 

' Me envy not the white man here. 
Though he so proud and gay ; 


He great, he proud, he haughty fine, 
"While I my banjo play : 

Me work all day, me sleep all night ; 
Me have no care, me heart is light ; 
Me think not what to-morrow bring ; 
Me happy, so me sing." 

Lisette rattled the strings of the banjo, and sang with 
such a hearty abandon of enjoyment that it was a comfort 
to look at her. One would have thought that a bird's soul 
put into a woman's body would have sung just so. 

" There," she said, throwing down her banjo, and seating 
herself on her husband's knee, " do you know I think you 
are like white man in the song ? I should like to know what 
is the matter with you. I can see plain enough when you 
are not happy ; but I don't see why." 

" 0, Lisette, I have very perplexing business to manage," 
said Harry. " Miss Nina is a dear, good little mistress, but 
she does n't know anything about accounts, or money ; and 
here she has brought me home a set of bills to settle, and 
I 'm sure I don't know where the money is to be got from. 
It 's hard work to make the old place profitable in our days. 
The ground is pretty much worked up ; it does n't bear the 
crops it used to. And, then, our people are so childish, they 
don't, a soul of them, care how much they spend, or how 
carelessly they work. It's very expensive keeping up such 
an establishment. You know the Gordons must be Gor- 
dons. Things can't be done now as some other families 
would do them ; and, then, those bills which Miss Nina 
brings from New York are perfectly frightful." 

" Well, Harry, what are you going to do ?" said Lisette, 
nestling down close on his shoulder. "You always know 
how to do something." 

" Why, Lisette, I shall have to do what I 've done two 
or three times before — take the money that I have saved, 
to pay these bills — our freedom-money, Lisette." 

" 0, well, then, don't worry ! We can get it again, you 
know. Why, you know, Harry, you can make a good deal 


with your trade, and one thing and another that you do ; 
and, then, as for me, why, you know, my ironing, and my 
muslins, how celebrated they are. Come, don't worry one 
bit ; we shall get on nicely." 

" Ah ! But, Lisette, all this pretty house of ours, gar- 
den, and everything, is only built on air, after all, till we 
are free. Any accident can take it from us. Now, there 's 
Miss Nina ; she is engaged, she tells me, to two or three 
lovers, as usual." 

" Engaged, is she ? " said Lisette, eagerly, female cu- 
riosity getting the better of every other consideration ; 
" she always did have lovers, just, you know, as I used to." 

"Yes ; but, Lisette, she will marry, some time, and what 
a thing that would be for you and me ! On her husband 
will depend all my happiness for all my life. He may set 
her against me ; he may not like me. 0, Lisette ! I 've seen 
trouble enough coming of marriages ; and I was hoping, 
you see, that before that time came the money for my free- 
dom would all be paid in, and I should be my own man. 
But, now, here it is. Just as the sum is almost made up, I 
must pay out five hundred dollars of it, and that throws us 
back two or three years longer. And what makes me feel 
the most anxious is, that I'm pretty" sure Miss Nina will 
marry one of these lovers before long." 

" Why, what makes you think so, Harry ? " 

" 0, I 've seen girls before now, Lisette, and I know the 

"What does she do? What does she say? Tell me, 
now, Harry." 

" 0, well, she runs on abusing the man, after her sort ; 
and she's so very earnest and positive in telling me she 
don't like him." 

" Just the way I used to do about you, Harry, is n't it ? " 

" Besides," said Harry, " I know, by the kind of charac- 
ter she gives of him, that she thinks of him very differently 
from what she ever did of any man before. Miss Nina 
little knows, when she is rattling about her beaux, what I 'm 


thinking- of. I 'm saying, all the while, to myself, ' Is that 
man going to be my master ? ' and this Clayton, I 'in very 
sure, is going to be my master." 

" Well, is n't he a good man ? " 

" She says he is ; but there 's never any saying what good 
men will do, never. Good men think it right sometimes to 
do the strangest things. This man may alter the whole 
agreement between us, — he will have a right to do it, if he 
is her husband ; he may refuse to let me buy myself; and, 
then, all the money that I 've paid will go for nothing." 

"But, certainly, Harry, Miss Nina will never consent. to 
such a thing." 

" Lisette, Miss Nina is one thing, but Mrs. Clayton may 
be quite another thing. I 've seen all that, over and over 
again. I tell you, Lisette, that we who live on other peo- 
ple's looks and words, we watch and think a great deal ! 
Ah ! we come to be very sharp, I can tell you. The more 
Miss Nina has liked me, the less her husband may like me ; 
dont you know that ? " 

"No ; Harry, you don't dislike people I like." 

" Child, child, that 's quite another thing." 

" Well, then, Harry, if you feel so bad about it, what 
makes you pay this money for Miss Nina ? She don't 
know anything about it ; she don't ask you to. I don't 
believe she would want you to, if she did know it. Just go 
and pay it in, and have your freedom-papers made out. 
Why don't you tell her all about it ? " 

" No, I can't, Lisette. I 've had the cai*e of her all her 
life, and I 've made it as smooth as I could for her, and I 
won't begin to trouble her now. Do you know, too, that 
I 'm afraid that, perhaps, if she knew all about it, she 
would n't do the right thing. There 's never any knowing, 
Lisette. Now, you see, I say to myself, ' Poor little thing ! 
she doesn't know anything about accounts, and she don't 
know how I feel.' But, if I should tell her, and she should n't 
care, and act as I 've seen women act, why, then, you know, 


I could n't think so any more. I don't believe she would, 
mind you ; but, then, I don't like to try." 

" Harry, what does make you love her so much ? " 

" Don't you know, Lisette, that Master Tom was a dread- 
ful bad boy, always wilful and wayward, almost broke his 
father's heart ; and he was always ugly and contrary to her ? 
I 'm sure I don't know why ; for she was a sweet little thing', 
and she loves him now, ugly as he is, and he is the most 
selfish creature I ever saw. And, as for Miss Nina, she 
isn't selfish — she is only inconsiderate. But I've known 
her do for him, over and over, just what I do for her, giving 
him her money and her jewels to help him out of a scrape. 
But, then, to be sure, it all comes upon me, at last, which 
makes it all the more aggravating. Now, Lisette, I 'm 
going to tell you something, but you mustn't tell anybody. 
Nina Gordon is my sister ! " 

" Harry ! " 

" Yes, Lisette, you may well open your eyes," said 
Harry, rising involuntarily ; "I 'm Colonel Gordon's oldest 
son ! Let me have the comfort of saying it once, if I never 
do again." 

" Harry, who told you ? " 

" He told me, Lisette — he, himself, told me, when he was 
dying, and charged me always to watch over her ; and I have 
done it! I never told Miss Nina; I wouldn't have her 
told for the world. It would n't make her love me ; more 
likely it would turn her against me. I 've seen many a man 
sold for nothing else but looking too much like his father, or 
his brothers and sisters. I was given to her, and my 
sister and my mother went out to Mississippi with Miss 
Nina's aunt." 

" I never heard you speak of this sister, Harry. Was she 
pretty? " 

"Lisette, she was beautiful, she was graceful, and she 
had real genius. I 've heard many singers on the stage 
that could not sing, with all their learning, as she did by 


" Well, what became of her ? " 

" 0, what becomes of such women always, among us! 
Nursed, and petted, and caressed ; taught everything ele- 
gant, nothing solid. Why, the woman meant well enough 
that had the care of her, — Mrs. Stewart, Colonel Gordon's 
sister, — but she couldn't prevent her son's wanting her, 
and taking her, for his mistress ; and when she died there 
she was." 

" Well." 

" When George Stewart had lived with her two or three 
years, he was taken with small-pox. You know what per- 
fect horror that always creates. None of his white acquaint- 
ances and friends would come near his plantation ; the 
negroes were all frightened to death, as usual ; overseer ran 
off. Well, then Cora Gordon's blood came up ; she nursed 
him all through that sickness. What 's more, she had influ- 
ence to keep order on the place ; got the people to get- 
ting the cotton crops themselves, so that when the overseer 
came sneaking back, things had n't all gone to ruin, as they 
might have done. Well, the young fellow had more in him 
than some of them do ; for when he got well he left his 
plantation, took her up to Ohio, and married her, and lived 
with her there." 

"Why didn't he live with her on his plantation? " said 

" He could n't have freed her there ; it 's against the laws. 
But, lately, I 've got a letter from her, saying that he had 
died and left to her and her son all his property on the 

" Why, she will be rich, won't she ? " 

"Yes, if she gets it. But there 's no knowing how that 
will be ; there are fifty ways of cheating her out of it, I 
suppose. But, now, as to Miss Nina's estate, you don't 
know how I feel about it. I was trusted with it, and trusted 
with her. She never has known, more than a child, where 
the money came from, or went to ; and it shan't be said that 
I 've brought the estate in debt, for the sake of getting my 


own liberty. If I have one pride in life, it is to give it up 
to Miss Nina's husband in good order. But, then, the 
trouble of it, Lisette ! The trouble of getting anything like 
decent work from these creatures ; the ways that I have to 
turn and twist to get round them, and manage them, to get 
anything done. They hate me ; they are jealous of me. 
Lisette, I 'm just like the bat in the fable ; I ? m neither bird 
nor beast. How often I 've wished that I was a good, hon- 
est, black nigger, like Uncle Pomp ! Then I should know 
what I was ; but, now, I 'm neither one thing nor another. 
I come just near enough to the condition of the white to look 
into it, to enjoy it, and want everything that I see. Then, 
the way I 've been educated makes it worse. The fact is, 
that when the fathers of such as we feel any love for us, it 
is n't like the love they have for their white children. They 
are half-ashamed of us ; they are ashamed to show their love, 
if they have it ; and, then, there 's a kind of remorse and pity 
about it, which they make up to themselves by petting us. 
They load us with presents and indulgences. They amuse 
themselves with us while we are children, and play off all our 
passions as if we were instruments to be played on. If we 
show talent and smartness, we hear some one say, aside, ' It 's 
rather a pity, isn't it ? ' or, ' lie is too smart for his place.' 
Then, we have all the family blood and the family pride ; and 
what to do with it ? I feel that I am a Gordon. I feel in 
my very heart that I 'm like Colonel Gordon — I know I am ; 
and, sometimes, I know I look like him, and that's one 
reason why Tom Gordon always hated me ; and, then, 
there 's another thing, the hardest of all, to have a sister like 
Miss Nina, to feel she is my sister, and never dare to say a 
word of it ! She little thinks, when she plays and jokes 
with me, sometimes, how I feel. I have eyes and senses ; 
I can compare myself with Tom Gordon. I know he never 
would learn anything at any of the schools he was put to ; 
and I know that when his tutors used to teach me, how 
much faster I got along than he did. And yet he must 
have all the position, and all the respect ; and, then, Miss 


Nina so often says to me, by way of apology, when she puts 
up with his ugliness, ' Ah ! well, you know, Harry, he is the 
only brother I have got in the world ! ; Is n't it too bad ? 
Col. Gordon gave me every advantage of education, because 
I think he meant me for just this place which I fill. Miss Nina 
was his pet. He was wholly absorbed in her, and he was 
frightened at Tom's wickedness ; and so he left me bound to 
the estate in this way, only stipulating that I should buy 
myself on favorable terms before Miss Nina's marriage. 
She has always been willing enough. I might have taken 
any and every advantage of her inconsiderateness. And 
Mr. John Gordon has been willing, too, and has been very 
kind about it, and has signed an agreement as guardian, 
and Miss Nina has signed it too, that, in case of her death, 
or whatever happened, I 'm to have my freedom on paying 
a certain sum, and I have got his receipts for what I have 
paid. So that 's tolerably safe. Lisette, I had meant never 
to have been married till I was a free man ; but, somehow, 
you bewitched me into it. I did very wrong." 

" 0, pshaw ! pshaw ! " interrupted Lisette. " I an't going 
to hear another word of this talk I What 's the use ? We 
shall do well enough. Everything will come out right, — 
you see if it don't, now. I was always lucky, and I always 
shall be." 

The conversation was here interrupted by a loud whoop- 
ing, and a clatter of horse's heels. 

" What 's that ? " said Harry, starting to the window. 
" As I live, now, if there is n't that wretch of a Tomtit, 
going off with that horse ! How came he here ? He will 
ruin him ! Stop there ! hallo ! " he exclaimed, running out 
of doors after Tomtit. 

Tomtit, however, only gave a triumphant whoop, and dis- 
appeared among the pine-trees. 

" Well, I should like to know what sent him here ! " said 
JTarry, walking up and down, much disturbed. 

" 0, he is only going round through the grove ; he will 


be back again/' said Lisette ; " never fear. Is n't he a hand- 
some little rogue ? " 

"Lisette, you never can see trouble anywhere!" said 
Harry, almost angrily. 

" Ah ! yes, I do," said Lisette, " when you speak in that 
tone ! Please don't, Harry ! What should you want me to 
see trouble for? " 

" I don't know, you little thing," said Harry, stroking 
her head fondly. 

"Ah, there comes the little rascal, just as I knew he 
would!" said Lisette. "He only wanted to take a little 
race ; he has n't hurt the horse ; " and, tripping lightly out, 
she caught the reins, just as Tomtit drove up to the gate ; 
and it seemed but a moment before he was over in the gar- 
den, with his hands full of flowers. 

"Stop, there, you young rascal, and tell me what sent 
you here ! " said Harry, seizing him, and shaking him by the 

" Laws, Massa Harry, I wants to get peaches, like other 
folks," said the boy, peeping roguishly in at the window, 
at the tea-table. 

"And he shall have a peach, too," said Lisette, "and 
some flowers, if he '11 be a good boy, and not tread on my 

Tomtit seized greedily at the peach she gave him, and, 
sitting flat down where he stood, and throwing the flowers 
on the ground beside him, began eating it with an earnest- 
ness of devotion as if his whole being were concentrated in 
the act. The color was heightened in his brown cheek by 
the exercise, and, with his long, drooping curls and eye- 
lashes, he looked a very pretty centre to the flower-piece 
which he had so promptly improvised. 

" Ah, how pretty he is ! " said Lisette, touching Harry's 
elbow. " I wish he was mine ! " 

" You 'd have your hands full, if he was," said Harry, 
eying the intruder discontentedly, while Lisette stood pick- 


ing the hulls from a fine bunch of strawberries which she 
was ready to give him when he had finished the peach. 

" Beauty makes fools of all you girls," said Harry, cyni- 

" Is that the reason I married you ? " said Lisette, archly. 
" Well, I know I could make him good, if I had the care of 
him. Nothing like coaxing ; is there, Tom ? " 

" I '11 boun' there an't ! " said Tom, opening his mouth for 
the strawberries with much the air of a handsome, saucy 

"Well," said Harry, " I should like to know what brought 
him over here. Speak, now, Tom ! Were n't you sent 
with some message ? " 

" laws, yes!" said Tom, getting up, and scratching 
his curly head. "Miss Nina sent me. She wants you to 
get on dat ar horse, and make tracks for home like split 
foot. She done got letters from two or three of her beaux, 
and she is dancing and tearing round there real awful. She 
done got scared, spects ; feard they 'd all come together." 

" And she sent you on a message, and you have n't told 
me, all this time ! " said Harry, making a motion as though 
he was going to box the child's ears ; but the boy glided out 
of his hands as if he had been water, and was gone, van- 
ishing among the shrubbery of the garden ; and while Harry 
was mounting his horse, he reappeared on the roof of the 
little cabin, caricoling and dancing, shouting at the topmost 
of his voice — 

" Away down old Virginny, 
D-ere I bought a yellow girl for a guinea." 

" I '11 give it to you, some time ! " said Harry, shaking his 
fist at him. 

" No, he won't, either," cried Lisette, laughing. " Come 
down here, Tomtit, and I '11 make a good boy of you." 



In order to understand the occasion which hurried Harry 
home, we must go hack to Canema. Nina, after taking her 
letters from the hands of Tomtit, as we have related, ran 
back with them into Mrs. Nesbit's room, and sat herself 
down to read them. As she read, she evidently became 
quite excited and discomposed, crumpling a paper with her 
little hand, and tapping her foot impatiently on the carpet. 

" There, now, I 'in sure I don't know what I shall do, Aunt 
Nesbit ! " addressing her aunt, because it was her out- 
spoken habit to talk to any body or thing which happened 
to be sitting next to her. " I 've got myself into a pretty 
scrape now! " 

" I told you you 'd get into trouble, one of these days ! " 

" 0, you told me so ! If there 's anything I hate, it is to 
have anybody tell me 'I told you so ! ' But, now, aunt, 
really, I know I 've been foolish, but I don't know what 
to do. Here are two gentlemen coming together, that I 
wouldn't have meet each other here for the world ; and I 
don't know really what I had better do." 

'■'You 'd better do just as you please, as you always do, 
and always would, ever since I knew you," said Aunt Nes- 
bit, in a calm, indifferent tone. 

" But, really, aunt, I don't know what 's proper to do in 
such a case." 

" Your and my notions of propriety, Nina, are so differ- 
ent, that I don't know Iioav to advise you. You see the 
consequences, now, of not attending to the advice of your 


friends. I always knew these flirtations of yours would 
bring you into trouble.'' And Aunt Nesbit said this with 
that quiet, satisfied air with which precise elderly people 
so often edify their thoughtless young friends under diffi- 

" Well, I didn't want a sermon, now, Aunt Nesbit ; but, 
as you Ve seen a great deal more of the world than I have, 
I thought you might help me a little, just to tell me whether 
it would n't be proper for me to write and put one of these 
gentlemen off ; or make some excuse for me, or something. 
I 'm sure I never kept house before. I don't want to do 
anything that don't seem hospitable ; and yet I don't want 
them to come together. Now, there, that 's flat ! ,; 

There was a long pause, in which Nina sat vexed and 
coloring, biting her lips, and nestling uneasily in her seat. 

Mrs. Nesbit looked calm and considerate, and Nina be- 
gan to hope that she was taking the case a little to heart. 

At last the good old lady looked up, and said, very qui- 
etly, " I wonder what time it is." 

Nina thought she was debating the expediency of sending 
some message ; and therefore she crossed the room with 
great alacrity, to look at the old clock in the entry. 

" It 's half-past two, aunt ! " and she stood, with her lips 
apart, looking at Mrs. Nesbit for some suggestion. 

" I was going to tell Rosa," said she, abstractedly, "that 
that onion in the stuffing does not agree with me. It rose 
on my stomach all yesterday morning ; but it 's too late 

Nina actually stamped with anger. 

" Aunt Nesbit, you are the most selfish person I ever saw 
in my life ! " 

"Nina, child, you astonish me ! " said Aunt Nesbit, with 
her wonted placidity. "What 's the matter ? " 

" I don't care ! " said Nina, " I don't care a bit ! I don't 
see how people can be so ! If a dog should come to me 
and tell me he was in trouble, I think I should listen to him, 
and show some kind of interest to help him ! I don't care 


how foolish anybooVy has been ; if they are in trouble, I 'd 
help them, if I could ; and I think you might think enough 
of it to give me some little advice ! " 

" 0, } T ou are talking about that affair, yet?" said her 
aunt. " Why, I believe I told you I didn't know what to 
advise, did n't I ? Should n't give way to this temper, 
Nina ; it 's very unladylike, besides being sinful. But, 
then, I don't suppose it 's any use for me to talk ! " And 
Aunt Nesbit, with an abused air, got up, walked quietly to 
the looking-glass, took off her morning cap, unlocked her 
drawer, and laid it in ; took out another, which Nina could 
not see differed a particle from the last, held it up thought- 
fully on her hand, and appeared absorbed in the contempla- 
tion of it, — while Nina, swelling with a mixture of anger 
and mortification, stood regarding her as she leisurely picked 
out each bow, and finally, with a decorous air of solemnity, 
arranged it upon her head, patting it tenderly down. 

" Aunt Nesbit," she said, suddenly, as if the words hurt 
her, " I think I spoke improperly, and I 'm very sorry for it. 
I beg your pardon." 

"0, it 's no matter, child ; I did n't care about it. I 'm 
pretty well used to your temper." 

Bang went the door, and in a moment Nina stood in the 
entry, shaking her fist at it with impotent wrath. 

" You stony, stiff, disagreeable old creature! how came 
you ever to be my mother's sister? " And, with the word 
mother, she burst into a tempest of tears, and rushed vio- 
lently to her own chamber. The first object that she saw 
was Milly, arranging some clothes in her drawer ; and, to her 
astonishment, Nina rushed up to her, and, throwing her 
arms round her neck, sobbed and wept, in such tumultuous 
excitement, that the good creature was alarmed. 

"Laws bless my soul, my dear little lamb! what's the 
matter ? Why, don't ! Don't, honey ! Why, bless the 
dear little soul ! bless the dear precious lamb ! who 's been 
a hurting of it ? " And, at each word of endearment, Nina's 


distress broke out afresh, and she sobbed so bitterly that 
the faithful creature really began to be frightened. 

"Laws, Miss Nina, I hope there an't nothing happened 
to you now ! " 

"No, no, nothing, Milly, only I am lonesome, and I want 
my mother ! I have n't got any mother ! Dear me ! " she 
said, with a fresh burst. 

"Ah, the poor thing!" said Milly, compassionately, sit- 
ting down, and fondling Nina in her arms, as if she had been 
a babe. " Poor chile ! Laws, yes ; I 'member your ma 
was a beautiful woman 1 " 

" Yes," said Nina, speaking between her sobs, " the girls 
at school had mothers. And there was Mary Brooks, she 
used to read to me her mother's letters, and I used to feel 
so, all the while, to think nobody wrote such letters to me ! 
And there 's Aunt Nesbit — I don't care what they say about 
her being religious, she is the most selfish, hateful creature 
I ever did see ! I do believe, if I was lying dead and laid 
out in the nest room to her, she would be thinking what 
she 'd get next for dinner ! " 

" 0, don't, my poor lamb, don't ! " said Milly, compas- 

" Yes, I will, too ! She 's always taking it for granted 
that I 'm the greatest sinner on the face of the earth ! She 
don't scold me — she don't care enough about me to scold ! 
She only takes it for granted, in her hateful, quiet way, that 
I 'm going to destruction, and that she can't help it, and 
don't care ! Supposing I 'm not good ! — what 's to make me 
good ? Is it going to make me good for people to sit up so 
stiff, and tell me they always knew I was a fool, and a flirt, 
and all that ? Milly, I 've had dreadful turns of wanting to 
be good, and I 've laid awake nights and cried because I 
was n't good. And what makes it worse is, that I think, if 
Ma was alive, she could help me. She was n't like Aunt 
Nesbit, was she, Milly ? " 

" No, honey, she was n't. I '11 tell you about your ma, 
some time, honey." 


"The worst of it is," said Nina, " when Aunt Nesbit 
speaks to me in her hateful way, I get angry; then I speak 
in a way that is n't proper, I know. 0, if she only would 
get angry with me back again ! or if she 'd do anything in 
the world but stand still, in her still way, telling me she is 
astonished at me ! That 's a lie, too ; for she never was 
astonished at anything in her life ! She has n't life enough 
to be ! " 

"Ah, Miss Nina, we mustn't spect more of folks than 
there is in them." 

" Expect ? I don't expect ! " 

" Well, bless you, honey, when you knows what folks 
is, don't let 's worry. Ye can't fill a quart-cup out of a 
thimble, honey, no way you can fix it. There 's just whar 
't is. I knowed your ma, and I 's knowed Miss Loo, ever 
since she was a girl. 'Pears like they wan't no more alike 
than snow is like sugar. Miss Loo, when she was a girl, 
she was that pretty, that everybody was wondering after 
her ; but to de love, dat ar went arter your ma. Could n't 
tell why it was, honey. 'Peared like Miss Loo wan't 
techy, nor she wan't one of your bursting-out sort, scold- 
ing round. 'Peared like she 'd never hurt nobody ; and yet 
our people, they could n't none of dem bar her. 'Peared 
like nobody did nothing for her with a will." 

" Well, good reason ! " said Nina; "she never did any- 
thing for anybody else with a will ! She never cared for 
anybody ! Now, I 'm selfish ; I always knew it. I do a 
great many selfish things ; but it 's a different kind from 
hers. Do you know, Milly, she don't seem to know she is 
selfish ? There she sits, rocking in her old chair, so sure 
she 's going straight to heaven, and don't care whether 
anybody else gets there or not ! " 

" laws, now, Miss Nina, you 's too hard on her. Why, 
look how patient she sits with Tomtit, teaching him his 
hymns and varses." 

" And you think that 's because she cares anything about 
him ? Do you know she thinks he is n't fit to go to heaven, 


and that if he dies he' 11 go to the had place. And yet, if 
he was to die to-morrow, she 'd talk to you about clear- 
starching her caps ! No wonder the child don't love her ! 
She talks to him just as she does to me ; tells him she 
don't expect anything of him — she knows he '11 never 
come to any good ; and the little wretch has got it by heart, 
now. Do } r ou know that, though I get in a passion with 
Tom, sometimes, and though I 'm sure I should perish sit- 
ting boring with him over those old books, yet I really 
believe I care more for him than she does ? And he knows 
it, too. He sees through her as plain as I do. You '11 
never make me believe that Aunt Nesbit has got religion. 
I know there is such a thing as religion ; but she hasn't got 
it. It isn't all being sober, and crackling old stiff religious 
newspapers, and boring with texts and hymns, that makes 
people religious. She is just as worldly-minded as I am, 
only it 's in another way. There, now, I wanted her to 
advise me about something, to-day. Why, Milly, all girls 
want somebody to talk with ; and if she 'd only showed 
the least interest in what I said, she might scold me and 
lecture me as much as she 'd a mind to. But, to have her 
not even hear me ! And when she must have seen that I was 
troubled and perplexed, and wanted somebody to advise 
me, she turned round so cool, and began to talk about the 
onions and the stuffing ! Got me so angry ! I suppose she 
is in her room, now, rocking, and thinking what a sinner I 

"Well, now, Miss Nina, 'pears though you've talked 
enough about dat ar ; 'pears like it won't make you feel 
no better." 

" Yes it does make me feel better ! I had to speak to 
somebody, Milly, or else I should have burst ; and now I 
wonder where Harry is. He always could find a way for 
me out of anything." 

" He is gone over to see his wife, I think, Miss Nina." 

" 0, too bad ! Do send Tomtit after him, right away. 
Tell him that I want him to come right home, this very 


minute — something very particular. And, Milly, you just 
go and tell Old Hundred to get out the carriage and horses, 
and I '11 go over and drop a note in the post-office, myself. 
I won't trust it to Tomtit ; for I know he '11 lose it." 

" Miss Nina," said Milly, looking hesitatingly, " I 'spect 
you don't know how things go about round here ; but the 
fact is, Old Hundred has got so kind of cur'ous, lately, 
there can't nobody do nothing with him, except Harry. 
Don't 'tend to do nothing Miss Loo tells him to. I 's feared 
he '11 make up some story or other about the horses ; but 
he won't get 'em out — now, mind, I tell you, chile ! " 

" He won't ! I should like to know if he won't, when I 
tell him to ! A pretty story that would be ! I '11 soon teach 
him that he has a live mistress — somebody quite different 
from Aunt Loo ! " 

" Well, well, chile, perhaps you 'd better go. He would n't 
mind me, I know. Maybe he '11 do it for you." 

" 0, yes ; I '11 just run down to his house, and hurry him 
up." And Nina, quite restored to her usual good-humor, 
tripped gayly across to the cabin of Old Hundred, that 
stood the other side of the house. 

Old Hundred's true name was, in fact, John. But he had 
derived the appellation by which he was always known, 
from the extreme moderation of all his movements. Old 
Hundred had a double share of that profound sense of the 
dignity of his office which is an attribute of the tribe of 
coachmen in general. He seemed to consider the horses 
and carriage as a sort of family ark, of which he was the 
high priest, and which it was his business to save from 
desecration. According to his own showing, all the people 
on the plantation, and indeed the whole world in general, 
were in a state of habitual conspiracy against the family 
carriage and horses, and he was standing for them, sin- 
gle-handed, at the risk of his life. It was as much part 
of his duty, in virtue of his office, to show cause, on every 
occasion, why the carriage should not be used, as it is for 
state attorneys to undertake prosecutions. And it was also 


a part of the accomplishment of his situation to conduct his 
refusal in the most decorous manner ; always showing that 
it was only the utter impossibility of the case which pre- 
vented. The available grounds of refusal Old Hundred had 
made a life-study, and had always a store of them cut and 
dried for use, all ready at a moment's notice. In the first 
place, there were always a number of impossibilities with 
regard to the carriage. Either " it was muddy, and he was 
laying out to wash it;" or else "he had washed it, and 
couldn't have it splashed;" or "he had taken out the 
back curtain, and had laid out to put a stitch in it, one of 
dese yer days ; " or there was something the matter with 
the irons. "He reckoned they was a little bit sprung." 
He " 'lowed he 'd ask the blacksmith about it, some of these 
yer times." And, then, as to the horses the possibilities 
were rich and abundant. What with strains, and loose 
shoes, and stones getting in at the hoofs, dangers of all 
sorts of complaints, for which he had his own vocabulary 
of names, it was next to an impossibility, according to 
any ordinary rule of computing chances, that the two 
should be in complete order together. 

Utterly ignorant, however, of the magnitude of the under- 
taking which she was attempting, and buoyant with the 
consciousness of authority, Nina tripped singing along, 
and found Old Hundred tranquilly reclining in his tent-door, 
watching through his half-shut eyes, while the afternoon 
sunbeam irradiated the smoke which rose from the old pipe 
between his teeth. A large, black, one-eyed crow sat 
perching, with a quizzical air, upon his knee ; and when 
he heard Nina's footsteps approaching, cocked his remain- 
ing eye towards her, with a smart, observing attitude, as if 
he had been deputed to look out for applications while his 
master dozed. Between this crow, who had received the 
sobriquet of Uncle Jeff, and his master, there existed a 
most particular bond of friendship and amity. This was 
further strengthened by the fact that they were both 
equally disliked by all the inhabitants of the place. Like 


many people who are called to stand in responsible posi- 
tions, Old Hundred had rather failed in the humble virtues, 
and become dogmatical and dictatorial to that degree that 
nobody but his own wife could do anything with him. And 
as to Jeff, if the principle of thievery could be incarnate, he 
might have won a temple among the Lacedemonians. In 
various skirmishes and battles consequent on his misdeeds, 
Jeff had lost an eye, and had a considerable portion of the 
feathers scalded off on one side of his head ; while the re- 
maining ones, discomposed by the incident, ever after stood 
up in a protesting attitude, imparting something still more 
sinister to his goblin appearance. In another rencounter 
he had received a permanent twist in the neck, which gave 
him always the appearance of looking over his shoulder, 
and added not a little to the oddity of the general effect. 
Uncle Jeff thieved with an assiduity and skill which were 
worthy of a better cause ; and, when not upon any serious 
enterprise of this kind, employed his time in pulling up 
corn, scratching up newly-planted flower-seeds, tangling 
yarn, pulling out knitting-needles, pecking the eyes of 
sleeping people, scratching and biting children, and any 
other little miscellaneous mischief which occurred to him. 
He was invaluable to Old Hundred, because he was a 
standing apology for any and all discoveries made on his 
premises of things which ought not to have been there 
No matter what was brought to light, — whether spoons from 
the great house, or a pair of sleeve-buttons, or a handker- 
chief, or a pipe from a neighboring cabin, — Jeff was always 
called up to answer. Old Hundred regularly scolded, on 
these occasions, and declared he was enough to "spile the 
character of any man's house." And Jeff would look at 
him comically over the shoulder, and wink his remaining 
eye, as much as to say that the scolding was a settled 
thing between them, and that he wasn't going to take it at 
all in ill part. 

" Uncle John," said Nina, " I want you to get the car- 


riage out for me, right away. I want to take a ride over 
the cross run." 

" Laws bless you sweet face, honey, chile, I 's dreadful 
sorry ; but you can't do it dis yer day." 

"Can't do it! why not?" 

" Why, bless you, chile, it an't possible, no way. Can't 
have the carriage and bosses dis yer arternoon." 

" But I must go over to cross run to the post-office. I 
must go this minute ! " 

" Law, chile, you can't do it ! fur you can't walk, and 
it 's sartain you can't ride, because dese yer hosses, nor dis 
yer carriage, can't stir out dis yer arternoon, no way you 
can fix it. Mout go, perhaps, to-morrow, or next week." 

" 0, Uncle John, I don't believe a word of it ! I want 
them this afternoon, and I say I must have them ! " 

"No, you can't, chile," said Old Hundred, in a tender, 
condescending tone, as if he was speaking to a baby. " I 
tell you dat ar is impossible. Why, bless your soul, Miss 
Nina, de curtains is all off de carriage ! " 

" Well, put them on again, then ! " 

" Ah, Miss Nina, dat ar an't all. Pete was desperate 
sick, last night ; took with de thumps, powerful bad. Why, 
Miss Nina, he was dat sick I had to be up with him most all 
night ! " And, while Old Hundred thus adroitly issued this 
little work of fiction, the raven nodded waggishly at Nina, 
as much as to say, "You hear that fellow, now ! " 

Nina stood quite perplexed, biting her lips, and Old Hun- 
dred seemed to go into a profound slumber. 

"I don't believe but what the horses can go to-day! I 
mean to go and look." 

" Laws, honey, chile, ye can't, now ; de do's is all locked, 
and I 've got de key in my pocket. Every one of dem 
critturs would have been killed forty times over 'fore now. 
I think everybody in dis yer world is arter clem dar crit- 
turs. Miss Loo, she 's wanting 'em to go one way, and 
Harry 's allers usin' de critturs. Got one out, dis yer arter- 
noon, riding over to see his wife. Don't see no use in his 


riding round so grand, noway ! Laws, Miss Nina, your 
pa used to say to me, says he, ' Uncle John, you knows 
more about dem critturs dan I do ; and, now I tell you what 
it is, Uncle John — you take care of dem critturs ; don't you 
let nobody kill 'em for nothing.' Now, Miss Nina, I 's 
always a walking in the steps of the colonel's 'rections. 
Now, good, clar, bright weather, over good roads, I likes to 
trot the critturs out. Dat ar is reasonable. But, den, what 
roads is over the cross run, I want to know? Dem dere 
roads is de most mis'ablest things you ever did see. Mud ! 
Hi ! Ought for to see de mud down dar by de creek ! Why, 
de bridge all tared off! Man drowned in dat clar creek 
once ! Was so ! It an't no sort of road for young ladies 
to go over. Tell you, Miss Nina ; why don' you let Harry 
carry your letter over ? If he must be ridin' round de 
country, don't see why he could n't do some good wid his 
ridin'. Why, de carriage would n't get over before ten 
o'clock, dis yer night ! Now, mine, I tell you. Besides, 
it's gwine fur to rain. I 's been feeling dat ar in my corns, 
all dis yer morning; and Jeff, he 's been acting like the berry 
debil hisself — de way he always does 'fore it rains. Never 
knowed dat ar sign to fail." 

"The short of the matter is, Uncle John, you are deter- 
mined not to go," said Nina. " But I tell you you shall 
go ! — there, now ! Now, do you get up immediately, and 
get out those horses ! " 

Old Hundred still sat quiet, smoking ; and Nina, after reit- 
erating her orders till she got thoroughly angry, began, at 
last, to ask herself the question, how she was going to carry 
them into execution. Old Hundred appeared to have de- 
scended into himself in a profound revery, and betrayed 
not the smallest sign of hearing anything she said. 

" I wish Harry would come back quick," she said to her- 
self, as she pensively retraced her steps through the garden ; 
but Tomtit had taken the commission to go for him in his 
usual leisurely way, spending the greater part of the after- 
noon on the road. 


"Now, an't you ashamed of yourself, you mean old nig- 
ger!" said Aunt Rose, the wife of Old Hundred, who had 
been listening to the conversation ; " talking 'bout de creek, 
and dc mud, and de critturs, and lor knows what all, when 
we all knows it 's nothing but your laziness ! " 

" Well," said Old Hundred, " and what would come o' 
the critturs if I was n't lazy, I want to know ? Laziness ! 
it 's the berry best thing for the critturs can be. Where 'd 
dem horses a been now, if I had been one of your highfelu- 
tin sort, always driving round ? Where 'd dey a been, 
and what would dey a been, hey ? Who wants to see bosses 
all skin and bone ? Lord ! if I had been like some o' de 
coachmen, de buzzards would have had the picking of dem 
critturs, long ago ! " 

" I rally believe that you've told dem dar lies till you 
begin to believe them yourself! " said Rose. " Telling our 
dear, sweet young lady about your being up with Pete all 
night, when de Lord knows you laid here snoring fit to tar 
deroof off!" 

" Well, must say something ! Folks must be 'spectful to 
de ladies. Course I could n't tell her I would n't take de 
critturs out; so I just trots out scuse. Ah! lots of dem 
scuses I keeps ! I tell you, now, scuses is excellent things. 
Why, scuses is like dis yer grease that keeps de w^nels 
from screaking. Lord bless you, de whole world turns rouni 
on scuses. Whar de world be if everybody was such fools 
to tell the raal reason for everything they are gwine for to 
do, or an't gwine fur to ! " 



"0, Harry, I'm so glad to see you back! In such 
trouble as I 've been to-day ! Don't you think, this very 
morning 1 , as I was sitting in Aunt Nesbit's room, Tomtit 
brought up these two letters ; and one of them is from Clay- 
ton, and the other from Mr. Carson ; and, now, see here what 
Clayton says : ' I shall have business that will take me in 
your vicinity next week ; and it is quite possible, unless I 
hear from you to the contrary, that you may see me at Ca- 
nema next Friday or Saturday.' Well, then, see here ; 
there 's another from Mr. Carson, — that hateful Carson ! 
Now, you see, he has n't got my letter ; says he is coming. 
What impudence ! I 'm tired to death of that creature, and 
he '11 be here just as certain ! Disagreeable people always 
do keep their promises ! He '11 certainly be here ! " 

" Well, Miss Nina, you recollect you said you thought it 
would be good fun." 

" 0, Harry, don't bring that up, I beg of you ! The fact 
is, Harry, I 've altered my mind about that. You know 
I 've put a stop to all those foolish things at once, and am 
done with them. You know I wrote to Carson and Em- 
mons, both, that my sentiments had changed, and all that 
sort of thing, that the girls always say. I 'm going to dis- 
miss all of 'em at once, and have no more fooling." 

" What, all ? Mr. Clayton and all ? " 

"Well, I don't know, exactly, — no. Do you know, 
Harry, I think his letters are rather improving ? — at least, 
they are different letters from any I 've got before ; and, 


though I don't think I shall break my heart after him, yet 
I like to get them. But the other two I 'm sick to death 
of; and, as for having that creature boring round here, I 
won't ! At any rate, I don't want him and Clayton here 
together. I would n't ha-v 9 them together for the world ; 
and I wrote a letter to keep Carson off, this morning, and 
I 've been in trouble all day. Everybody has plagued me. 
Aunt Nesbit only gave me one of her mopy lectures about 
flirting, and would n't help me in the least. And, then, Old 
Hundred : I wanted him to get out the carriage and horses 
for me to go over and put this letter in the office, and I 
never saw such a creature in my life ! I can't make him do 
anything! I should like to know what the use is of having 
servants, if you can't get anything done ! " 

"0, as to Old Hundred, I understand him, and he under- 
stands me," said Harry. "I never find any trouble with 
him ; but he is a provoking old creature. He stands very 
much on the dignity of his office. But, if you want your 
letter carried to-night, I can contrive a safer way than that, 
if you '11 trust it to me." 

"Ah! well, do take it!" 

"Yes," said Harry, "I'll send a messenger across on 
horseback, and I have means to make him faithful." 

" Well, Harry, Harry ! " said Nina, catching at his sleeve 
as he was going out, " come back again, won't you ? I want 
to talk to you." 

During Harry's absence, our heroine drew a letter from 
her bosom, and read it over. 

"How well he writes!" she said to herself. "So dif- 
ferent from the rest of them ! I wish he 'd keep away from 
here, — that's what I do! It's a pretty thing to get his 
letters, but I don't think I want to see him. 0, clear! I wish 
I had somebody to talk to about it — Aunt Nesbit is so 
cross ! I can't — no, I won't care about him ! Harry is a 
kind soul." 

" Ah, Harry, have you sent the letter ? " said she, 
eagerly, as he entered. 


" I have,- Miss Nina ; but I can't flatter you too much. 
I 'm afraid it's too late for the mail — though there 's never 
any saying when the mail goes out, within two or three 

" Well, I hope it will stay for me, once. If that stupid 
creature comes, why, I don't know what I shall do ! He 's 
so presuming ! and he '11 squeak about with those horrid 
shoes of his ; and then, I suppose, it will all come out, 
one way or another ; and I don't know what Clayton will 

" But I thought you didn't care what he thought." 

" Well, you know, he 's been writing to me all about his 
family. There 's his father, is a very distinguished man, of 
a very old family ; and he 's been writing to me about his 
sister, the most dreadfully sensible sister, he has got — 
good, lovely, accomplished, and pious ! 0, dear me ! I 
don't know what in the world he ever thought of me for ! 
And, do you think, there 's a postscript from his sister, 
written elegantly as can be ! " 

"As to family, Miss Nina," said Harry, "I think the 
Gordons can hold up their heads with anybody ; and, then, 
I rather think you'll like Miss Clayton." 

" Ah ! but, then, Harry, this talking about fathers and 
sisters, it 's bringing the thing awfully near ! It looks so 
much, you know, as if I really were caught, Do you know, 
Harry, I think I 'm just like my pony ? You know, she likes 
to have you come and offer her corn, and stroke her neck ; 
and she likes to make you believe she 's going to let you 
catch her ; but when it comes to putting a bridle on her, 
she 's off in a minute. Now, that 's the way with me. It 's 
rather exciting, you know, these beaux, and love-letters, 
and talking sentiment, going to the opera, and taking rides 
on horseback, and all that. But, when men get to talking 
about their fathers, and their sisters, and to act as if they 
were sure of me, I 'm just like Sylfine — I want to be off. 
You know, Harry, I think it 's a very serious thing, this 
beino; married. It 's dreadful ! I don't want to be a woman 


grown. I wish I could always be a girl, and live just as 
I have lived, and have plenty more girls come and see me, 
and have fun. I have n't been a bit happy lately, not a 
bit ; and I never was unhappy before in my life." 

" Well, why don't you write to Mr. Clayton, and break it 
all off, if you feel so about it ? " 

" Well, why don't I ? I don't know. I've had a great 
mind to do it ; but I 'm afraid I should feel worse than I do 
now. He \s coming just like a great dark shadow over my 
life, and everything is beginning to feel so real to me ! I 
don't want to take up life in earnest. I read a story, once, 
about Undine ; and, do you know, Harry, I think I feel just 
as Undine did, when she felt her soul coming in her ? " 

"And is Clayton Knight Heldebound ? " said LTarry, 

" I don't know. What if he should be ? Now, Harry, 
you see the fact is that sensible men get their heads turned 
by such kind of girls as I am ; and they pet us, and humor 
us. Bnt, then, I'm afraid they're thinking, all the while, 
that their turn to rule is coming, by and by. They marry us 
because they think they are going to make us over ; and 
what I 'm afraid of is, I never can be made over. Don't 
think I was cut out right in the first place ; and there never 
will be much more of me than there is now. And he '11 be 
comparing me with his pattern sister ; and I shan't be any 
the more amiable for that. Now, his sister is what folks call 
highly-educated, you know, Harry. She understands all 
about literature, and everything. As for me, I 've just culti- 
vation enough to appreciate a fine horse — that's the extent. 
And yet I 'm proud. I would n't wish to stand second, in 
his opinion, even to his sister. So, there it is. That's the 
way with us girls ! We are always wanting what we know 
we ought not to have, and are not willing to take the trouble 
to get." 

" Miss Nina, if you '11 let me speak my mind out frankly, 
now, I want to offer one piece of advice. Just be perfectly 
true and open with Mr. Clayton ; and, if he and Mr. Carson 


should come together, just tell him frankly how the matter 
stands. You are a Gordon, and they say truth always runs 
in the Gordon blood ; and now, Miss Nina, you are no longer 
a school-girl, but a young lady at the head of the estate." 

He stopped, and hesitated. 

"Well, Harry, you needn't stop. I understand you — 
got a few grains of sense left, I hope, and haven't got so 
many friends that I can afford to get angry with you for 

" I suppose," said Harry, thoughtfully, "that your aunt 
will be well enough to be down to the table. Have you 
told her how matters stand ? " 

" Who ? Aunt Loo ? Catch me telling her anything ! No, 
Harry, I 've got to stand all alone. I have n't any mother, 
and I have n't any sister ; and Aunt Loo is worse than no- 
body, because it 's provoking to have somebody round that 
you feel might take an interest, and ought to, and don't 
care a red cent for you. Well, I declare, if I'm not much, 
— if I'm not such a model as Miss Clayton, there, *— how 
could any one expect it, when I have just come up by my- 
self, first at the plantation, here, and then at that French 
boarding-school ? I tell you what, Harry, boarding-schools 
are not what they 're cried up to be. It 's good fun, no 
doubt, but we never learnt anything there. That is to say, 
we never learnt it internally, but had it just rubbed on to 
us outside. A girl can't help, of course, learning some- 
thing ; and I 've learnt just what I happened to like and 
could n't help, and a deal that is n't of the most edifying 
nature besides." 

Well ! we shall see what will come ! 



" I say, Tiff, do you think he will come, to-night ? " 

"Laws, laws, Missis, how can Tiff tell? I 's been a 
gazin' out de do'. Don't see nor hear nothin'. " 

"It's so lonesome ! — so lonesome ! — and the nights so 
long ! " 

And the speaker, an emaciated, feeble little woman, turned 
herself uneasily on the ragged pallet where she was lying, 
and, twirling her slender fingers nervously, gazed up at the 
rough, unplastered beams above. 

The room was of the coarsest and rudest cast. The hut 
was framed of rough pine logs, filled between the crevices 
with mud and straw ; the floor made of rough-split planks, 
unevenly jointed together ; the window was formed by some 
single panes arranged in a row where a gap had been made 
in one of the logs. At one end was a rude chimney of 
sticks, where smouldered a fire of pine-cones and brush- 
wood, covered over with a light coat of white ashes. On the 
mantle over it was a shelf, which displayed sundry vials, a 
cracked teapot and tumbler, some medicinal-looking pack- 
ages, a turkey's wing, much abridged and defaced by 
frequent usage, some bundles of dry herbs, and lastly a 
gayly-painted mug of coarse crockery-ware, containing a 
bunch of wild-flowers. On pegs, driven into the logs, were 
arranged different articles of female attire, and divers little 
coats and dresses, which belonged to smaller wearers, with 
now and then soiled and coarse articles of man's apparel. 

The woman, who lay upon a coarse chaff pallet in the cor- 

98 m OLD TIFF, 

ner, was one who once might have been pretty. Her skin 
was fair, her hair soft and curling, her eyes of a beautiful 
blue, her hands thin and transparent as pearl. But the 
deep, dark circles under the eyes, the thin, white lips, the 
attenuated limbs, the hurried breathing, and the burning 
spots in the cheek, told that, whatever she might have been, 
she was now not long for this world. 

Beside her bed was sitting an old negro, in whose close- 
curling wool age had begun to sprinkle flecks of white. 
His countenance presented, physically, one of the most un- 
comely specimens of negro features ; and would have been 
positively frightful, had it not been redeemed by an expres- 
sion of cheerful kindliness which beamed from it. His face 
was of ebony blackness, with a wide, upturned nose, a 
mouth of portentous size, guarded by clumsy lips, reveal- 
ing teeth which a shark might have envied. The only fine 
feature was his large, black eyes, which, at the present, 
were concealed by a huge pair of plated spectacles, placed 
very low upon his nose, and through which he was direct- 
ing his sight upon a child's stocking, that he was busily 
darning. At his foot was a rude cradle, made of a gum- 
tree log, hollowed out into a trough, and wadded by various 
old fragments of flannel, in which slept a very young infant. 
Another child, of about three years of age, was sitting on 
the negro's knee, busily playing with some pine-cones and 

The figure of the old negro was low and stooping ; and 
he wore, pinned round his shoulders, a half-handkerchief or 
shawl of red flannel, arranged much as an old woman would 
have arranged it. One or two needles, with coarse, black 
thread dangling to them, were stuck in on his shoulder ; 
and, as he busily darned on the little stocking, he kept up 
a kind of droning intermixture of chanting and talking to 
the child on his knee. 

" So, ho, Teddy ! — bub dar ! — my man ! — sit still.! — 
'cause yerma's sick, and sister's gone for medicine. Dar, 
Tiff '11 sing to his little man. 


' Christ was born in Bethlehem, 
Christ was born in Bethlehem, 

And in a manger laid.' 

Take car, dar ! — clat ar needle scratch yer little fingers ! 
— poor little fingers! Ah, be still, now! — play wid yer 
pretty tings, and see what yer pa '11 bring ye ! " 

" 0, dear me ! — well ! " said the woman on the bed, " I 
shall give up ! " 

" Bress de Lord, no, missis ! " said Tiff, laying down the 
stocking, and holding the child to him with one hand, while 
the other was busy in patting and arranging the bed- 
clothes. "No use in givin' up! Why, Lord bress you, 
missis, we '"11 be all up right agin in a few days. Work 
has been kinder pressing lately, and chil'ns clothes an't 
quite so 'speckable ; but den I 's doin' heaps o' mendin'. 
See dat ar ! " said he, holding up a slip of red flannel, re- 
splendent with a black patch, " dat ar hole won't go no 
furder- — and it docs well enough for Teddy to wear rollin' 
round de do', and such like times, to save his bettermost. 
And de way I 's put de yarn in dese yer stockings an't slow. 
Den I 's laid out to take a stitch in Teddy's shoes ; and dat 
ar hole in de kiverlet, dat ar '11 be stopped 'fore morning. 
0, let me alone ! — he ! he ! he ! — Ye did n't keep Tiff for 
nothing, missis — ho, ho, ho ! " And the black face seemed 
really to become unctuous with the oil of gladness, as Tiff 
proceeded in his work of consolation. 

" 0, Tiff, Tiff ! you 're a good creature ! But you don't 
know. Here I 've been lying alone day after clay, and he off 
nobody knows where ! And when he comes, it '11 be only a 
day, and he 's off; and all he does don't amount to anything 
■ — all miserable rubbish brought home and traded off for other 
rubbish. 0, what a fool I was for being married ! 0, clear ! 
girls little know what marriage is ! I thought it was so 
dreadful to be an old maid, and a pretty thing to get mar- 
ried ! But, 0, the pain, and worry, and sickness, and suffer- 
ing, I 've gone through ! — always wandering from place to 
place, never settled ; one thing going after another, wor- 

100 OLD TIFF. 

rying, watching, weary, — and all for nothing, for I am 
worn out, and I shall die ! " 

" 0, Lord, no ! " said Tiff, earnestly. " Lor, Tiff '11 make 
ye some tea, and give it to ye, ye poor lamb ! It 's drefful 
hard, so 't is ; but times '11 mend, and massa '11 come round 
and be more settled, like, and Teddy will grow up and help 
his ma ; and I 'm sure dere is n't a pearter young un dan 
dis yer puppet ! " said he, turning fondly to the trough 
where the little fat, red mass of incipient humanity was 
beginning to throw up two small fists, and to utter sundry 
small squeaks, to intimate his desire to come into notice. 

"Lor, now," said he, adroitly depositing Teddy on the 
floor, and taking up the baby, whom he regarded fondly 
through his great spectacles ; " stretch away, my pretty ! 
stretch away ! ho-e-ho ! Lor, if he has n't got his mammy's 
eye, for all dis worl ! Ah, brave ! See him, missis ! " said 
he, laying the little bundle on the bed by her. "Did ye 
ever see a peartier young un ? He, he, he ! Dar, now, his 
mammy should take him, so she should ! and Tiff '11 make 
mammy some tea, so he will!" And Tiff, in a moment, 
was on his knees, carefully laying together the ends of the 
burned sticks, and, blowing a cloud of white ashes, which 
powdered his woolly head and red shawl like snow-flakes, 
while Teddy was busy in pulling the needles out of some 
knitting-work which hung in a bag by the fire. 

Tiff, having started the fire by blowing, proceeded very 
carefully to adjust upon it a small, black porringer of water, 
singing, as he did so, 

" My way is dark and cloudy, 

So it is, so it is; 
My way is dark and cloudy, 
All de day." 

Then, rising from his work, he saw that the poor, weak 
mother had clasped the baby to her bosom, and was sobbing 
very quietly. Tiff, as he stood there, with his short, square, 
ungainly figure, his long arms hanging out from his side 

OLD TIFF. 101 

like bows, his back covered by the red shawl, looked much 
like a compassionate tortoise standing- on its hind legs. He 
looked pitifully at the sight, took off his glasses and wiped 
his eyes, and lifted up his voice in another stave : 

" But we '11 join de forty tousand, by and by, 

So we will, so we will. 
We '11 join de forty tousand, upon de golden shore, 
And our sorrows will be gone forevermore, more, more." 

" Bress my soul, Mas'r Teddy ! now us been haulin' out 
de needles from Miss Fanny's work ! dat ar an't purty, now ! 
Tiff '11 be 'shamed of ye, and ye do like dat when yer ma 's 
sick ! Don't ye know ye must be good, else Tiff won't tell 
ye no stories ! Dar, now, sit down on dis yer log ; dat ar 's 
just the nicest log ! plenty o' moss on it yer can be a pickin' 
out ! Now, yer sit still dar, and don't be interruptin' yer 

The urchin opened a wide, round pair of blue eyes upon 
Tiff, looking as if he were mesmerized, and sat, with a quiet, 
subdued air, upon his log, while Tiff went fumbling about in 
a box in the corner. After some rattling, he produced a 
pine-knot, as the daylight was fading fast in the room, and, 
driving it into a crack in another log which stood by the 
chimney corner, he proceeded busily to light it, muttering, 
as he did so, 

" Want to make it more cheerful like." 

Then he knelt down and blew the coals under the little 
porringer, which, like pine-coals in general, always sulked 
and looked black when somebody was not blowing them. 
He blew vigorously, regardless of the clouds of ashes which 
encircled him, and which settled even on the tips of his eye- 
lashes, and balanced themselves on the end of his nose. 

" Bress de Lord, I 's dreadful strong in my breff ! horl, 
dey might have used me in blacksmissin ! I 's kep dis yer 
chimney a gwine dis many a day. I wonder, now, what 
keeps Miss Fanny out so long." 

And Tiff rose up with the greatest precaution, and, glanc- 

102 OLD TIFF. 

ing every moment towards the bed, and almost tipping him- 
self over in his anxiety to walk softly, advanced to the 
rude door, which opened with a wooden latch and string, 
opened it carefully, and looked out. Looking out with him, 
we perceive that the little hut stands alone, in the heart of 
a dense pine forest, which shuts it in on every side. 

Tiff held the door open a few moments to listen. No 
sound was heard but the shivering wind, swaying and surg- 
ing in melancholy cadences through the long pine-leaves, — 
a lonesome, wailing, uncertain sound. 

" Ah ! dese yer pine-trees ! dey always a talkin' ! " said 
Tiff to himself, in a sort of soliloquy. " Whisper, whisper, 
whisper ! De Lord knows what it 's all about ! dey never 
tells folks what dey wants to know. Hark ! da is Foxy, as 
sure as I 'm a livin sinner ! Ah ! dar she is ! " as a quick, 
loud bark reverberated. " Ah, ha ! Foxy ! you '11 bring her 
along ! " caressing a wolfish-looking, lean cur, who came 
bounding through the trees. 

" Ah, yer good-for-nothing ! what makes yer run so fast, 
and leave yer missus behind ye ? Hark ! what 's dat ! " 

The clear voice came carolling gayly from out the pine- 

" If you get there before I do — 
I 'm bound for the land of Canaan." 

Whereupon Tiff, kindling with enthusiasm, responded, 

" Look out for mo — I 'm coming too — 
I 'm bound for the land of Canaan." 

The response was followed by a gay laugh, as a childish 
voice shouted, from the woods, 

" Ha ! Tiff, you there ? " 

And immediately a bold, bright, blue-eyed girl, of about 
eight years old, came rushing forward. 

"*" Lors, Miss Fannie, so grad you ? s come ! Yer ma 's 
powerful weak dis yer arternoan ! " And then, sinking his 
voice to a whisper, "Why, now, yer 'd better b'lcve her 

OLD TIFF. 103 

sperits is n't the best ! Why, she 's that bad, Miss Fannie, 
she actually been a cryin' when I put the baby in her arms. 
Eailly, I 'm consarned, and I wish yer pa 'ud coine home. 
Did yer bring de medicine ? " 

"Ah, yes ; here 'tis." 

" Ah ! so good ! I was a makin' of her some tea, to set 
her up, like, and I '11 put a little drop of dis yer in 't. You 
gwin, now, and speak to yer ma, and I '11 pick up a little 
light wood round here, and make up de fire. Massa Ted- 
dy '11 be powerful glad to see yer. Hope you 's got him 
something, too ! " 

The girl glided softly into the room, and stood over the 
bed where her mother was lying. 

" Mother, I 've come home," said she, gently. 

The poor, frail creature in the bed seemed to be in one of 
those helpless hours of life's voyage, when all its waves 
and billows are breaking over the soul ; and while the little 
new-comer was blindly rooting and striving at her breast, 
she had gathered the worn counterpane over her face, and 
the bed was shaken by her sobbings. 

" Mother ! mother ! mother ! " said the child, softly touch- 
ing her. 

" Go away ! go away, child ! 0, I wish I had never been 
born ! I wish you had never been born, nor Teddy, nor the 
baby ! It 's all nothing but trouble and sorrow ! Fanny, 
don't you ever marry ! Mind what I tell you ! " 

The child stood frightened by the bedside, while Tiff had 
softly deposited a handful of pine-wood near the fireplace, 
had taken off the porringer, and was busily stirring and 
concocting something in an old cracked china mug. As he 
stirred, a strain of indignation seemed to cross his generally 
tranquil mind, for he often gave short sniffs and grunts, in- 
dicative of extreme disgust, and muttered to himself, 

" Dis yer comes of quality marrying these yer poor white 
folks ! Never had no 'pinion on it, no way ! Ah ! do hear 
the poor lamb now ! 'nough to break one's heart ! " 

By this time, the stirring and flavoring being finished to 

104 OLD TIFF. 

his taste, he came to the side of the bed, and began, in a 
coaxing tone, 

" Come, now, Miss Sue, come ! You 's all worn out ! 
No wonder ! dat ar great fellow tugging at you ! Bless 
his dear little soul, he 's gaining half a pound a week ! 
Nough to pull down his ma entirely ! Come, now ; take a 
little sup of this — just a little sup! Warm you up, and 
put a bit of life in you ; and den I 'spects to fry you a mor- 
sel of der chicken, 'cause a boy like dis yer can't be nursed 
on slops, dat I knows ! Dere, dere, honey ! " said he, gently 
removing the babe, and passing his arm under the pillow. 
" I 's drefful strong in the back. My arm is long and strong, 
and I '11 raise you up just as easy ! Take a good sup on it, 
now, and wash dese troubles down. I reckon the good man 
above is looking down on us all, and bring us all round 
right, some time." 

The invalid, who seemed exhausted by the burst of feel- 
ing to which she had been giving way, mechanically obeyed 
a voice to which she had always been accustomed, and 
drank eagerly, as if with feverish thirst ; and when she had 
done, she suddenly threw her arms around the neck of her 
strange attendant. 

" 0, Tiff, Tiff ! poor old black, faithful Tiff ! What should 
I have done without you ? So sick as I 've been, and so 
weak, and so lonesome ! But, Tiff, it 's coming to an end 
pretty soon. I 've seen, to-night, that I an't going to live 
long, and I 've been crying to think the children have got 
to live. If I could only take them all into my arms, and all 
lie down in the grave together, I should be so glad ! I 
never knew what God made me for ! I 've never been fit 
for anything, nor done anything ! " 

Tiff seemed so utterly overcome by this appeal, his great 
spectacles were fairly washed clown in a flood of tears, and 
his broad, awkward frame shook with sobs. 

" Law bless you. Miss Sue, don't be talking dat ar way ! 
Why, if de Lord should call you, Miss Sue, I can take care 
of the children. I can bring them up powerful, I tell ye ! 

OLD TIFF. 105 

But you won't be a-going ; you '11 get better ! It 's just the 
sperits is low ; and, laws, why should n't dey be ? " 

Just at this moment a loud barking was heard outside the 
house, together with the rattle of wheels and the tramp of 
horses' feet. 

" Dar 's massa, sure as I 'm alive ! " said he, hastily lay- 
ing clown the invalid, and arranging her pillows. 

A rough voice called, " Hallo, Tiff! here with a light ! " 

Tiff caught the pine-knot, and ran to open the door. A 
strange-looking vehicle, of a most unexampled composite 
order, was standing before the door, drawn by a lean, one- 
eyed horse. 

" Here, Tiff, help me out. I 've got a lot of goods here. 
How 's Sue ? " 

" Missis is powerful bad ; been wanting to see you dis 
long time." 

"Well, away, Tiff ! take this out," indicating a long, 
rusty piece of stove-pipe. 

" Lay this in the house ; and here ! " handing a cast-iron 
stove-door, with the latch broken. 

" Law, Massa, what on earth is the use of dis yer ? " 

"Don't ask questions, Tiff; work away. Help me out 
with these boxes." 

" What on arth now ? " said Tiff to himself, as one rough 
case after another was disgorged from the vehicle, and 
landed in the small cabin. This being done, and orders 
being given to Tiff to look after the horse and equipage, 
the man walked into the house, with a jolly, slashing air. 

" Hallo, bub ! " said he, lifting the two-year-old above 
his head. " Hallo, Fan ! " imprinting a kiss on the cheek 
of his girl. "Hallo, Sis ! " coming up to the bed where 
the invalid lay, and stooping down over her. Her weak, 
wasted arms were thrown around his neck, and she said, 
with sudden animation, 

"0, you 've come at last ! I thought I should die with- 
out seeing you ! " 

" 0, you an't a-going to die, Sis ! Why, what talk ! " 

106 OLD TIFF. 

said he, chucking 1 her under the chin. " Why, your cheeks 
are as red as roses ! " 

" Pa, see the baby!" said little Teddy, who, having* 
climbed over the bed, opened the flannel bundle. 

"Ah! Sis, I call that ar a tolerable fair stroke of busi- 
ness ! Well, I tell you what, I 've done up a trade now 
that will set us up, and no mistake. Besides which, I 've 
got something now in my coat-pocket that would raise a 
dead cat to life, if she was lying at the bottom of a pond, 
with a stone round her neck ! See here ! ' Dr. Puffer's 
Elixir of the Water of Life ! ' warranted to cure janders, 
tooth-ache, ear-ache, scrofula, speptia, 'sumption, and every- 
thing else that ever I hearn of ! A teaspoonful of that ar, 
morn and night, and in a week you '11 be round agin, as pert 
as a cricket ! " 

It was astonishing to see the change which the entrance 
of this man had wrought on the invalid. All her apprehen- 
sions seemed to have vanished. She sat up on the bed, fol- 
lowing his every movement with her eyes, and apparently 
placing full confidence in the new medicine, as if it were the 
first time that ever a universal remedy had been proposed 
to her. It must be noticed, however, that Tiff, who had 
returned, and was building the fire, indulged himself, now 
and then, when the back of the speaker was turned, by 
snuffing at him in a particularly contemptuous manner. The 
man was a thick-set and not ill-looking personage, who 
might have been forty or forty-five years of age. His eyes, 
of a clear, lively brown, his close-curling hair, his high fore- 
head, and a certain devil-may-care frankness of expression, 
were traits not disagreeable, and which went some way to 
account for the partial eagerness with which the eye of the 
wife followed him. 

The history of the pair is briefly told. He was the son 
of a small farmer of North Carolina. His father having been 
so unfortunate as to obtain possession of a few negroes, the 
whole family became ever after inspired with an intense dis- 
gust for all kinds of labor ; and John, the oldest son, adopted 

OLD TIFF. 107 

for himself the ancient and honorable profession of a loafer. 
To lie idle in the sun in front of some small grog-shop, to 
attend horse-races, cock-fights, and gander-pullings, to flout 
out occasionally in a new waistcoat, bought with money 
which came nobody knew how, were pleasures to him all- 
satisfactory. He was as guiltless of all knowledge of com- 
mon-school learning as Governor Berkley could desire, and 
far more clear of religious training than a Mahometan or a 

In one of his rambling excursions through the country, 
he stopped a night at a worn-out and broken-down old plan- 
tation, where everything had run down, through many years 
of mismanagement and waste. There he staid certain days, 
playing cards with the equally hopeful son of the place, and 
ended his performances by running away one night with the 
soft-hearted daughter, only fifteen years of age, and who 
was full as idle, careless, and untaught, as he. 

The family, whom poverty could not teach to forget their 
pride, were greatly scandalized at the marriage ; and, had 
there been anything left in the worn-out estate wherewith 
to portion her, the bride, nevertheless, would have been 
portionless. The sole piece of property that went out with 
her from the paternal mansion was one, who, having a mind 
and will of his own, could not be kept from following her. 
The girl's mother had come from a distant branch of one of 
the most celebrated families in Virginia, and Tiff had been 
her servant; and, with a heart forever swelling with the re- 
membrances of the ancestral greatness of the Peytons, he fol- 
lowed his young mistress in her mesalliance with long-suf- 
fering devotion. He even bowed his neck so far as to 
acknowledge for his master a man whom he considered by 
position infinitely his inferior : for Tiff, though crooked and 
black, never seemed to cherish the slightest doubt lhat 
the whole force of the Peyton blood coursed through his 
veins, and that the Peyton honor was intrusted to his keep- 
ing. His mistress was a Peyton, her children were Peyton 
children, and even the little bundle of flannel in the gum- 

108 OLD TIFF. 

tree cradle was a Peyton ; and as for him, he was Tiff Pey- 
ton, and this thought warmed and consoled him as he fol- 
lowed his poor mistress during all the steps of her down- 
ward course in the world. On her husband he looked with 
patronizing, civil contempt. He wished him well ; he 
thought it proper to put the best face on all his actions ; 
but, in a confidential hour, Tiff would sometimes raise his 
spectacles emphatically, and give it out, as his own private 
opinion, "that dere could not be much 'spected from dat ar 
'scription of people ! " 

In fact, the roving and unsettled nature of JohnCripps's 
avocations and locations might have justified the old fellow's 
contempt. His industrial career might be defined as com- 
prising a little of everything, and a great deal of nothing. 
He had begun, successively, to learn two or three trades ; 
had half made a horse-shoe, and spoiled one or two carpen- 
ter's planes ; had tried his hand at stage-driving ; had raised 
fighting-cocks, and kept dogs for hunting negroes. But he 
invariably retreated from every one of his avocations, in his 
own opinion a much-abused man. The last device that had 
entered his head was suggested by the success of a shrewd 
Yankee pedler, who, having a lot of damaged and unsalable 
material to dispose of, talked him into the belief that he 
possessed yet an undeveloped talent for trade ; and poor 
John Oripps, guiltless of multiplication or addition table, 
and who kept his cock-fighting accounts on his fingers and 
by making chalk-marks behind the doors, actually was made 
to believe that he had at last received his true vocation. 

In fact, there was something in the constant restlessness 
of this mode of life that suited his roving turn ; and, though 
he was constantly buying what he could not sell, and losing 
on all that he did sell, yet somehow he kept up an illu- 
sion that he was doing something, because stray coins now 
and then passed through his pockets, and because the circle 
of small taverns in which he could drink and loaf was con- 
siderably larger. There was one resource which never failed 

OLD TIPP. 109 

him when all other streams went dry ; and that was the 
unceasing ingenuity and fidelity of the bondman Tiff. 

Tiff, in fact, appeared to be one of those comfortable old 
creatures, who retain such a good understanding with all 
created nature that food never is denied them. Fish would 
always bite on Tiff's hook when they would n't on any- 
body's else ; so that he was wont confidently to call the 
nearest stream " Tiff's pork-barrel." Hens always laid 
eggs for Tiff, and cackled to him confidentially where they 
were deposited. Turkeys gobbled and strutted for him, and 
led forth for him broods of downy little ones. All sorts of 
wild game, squirrels, rabbits, coons, and possums, appeared 
to come with pleasure and put themselves into his traps and 
springes ; so that, where another man might starve, Tiff 
would look round him with unctuous satisfaction, con- 
templating all nature as his larder, where his provisions were 
wearing fur coats, and walking about on four legs, only for 
safe keeping till he got ready to eat them. So that Cripps 
never came home without anticipation of something savory, 
even although he had drank up his last quarter of a dollar at 
the tavern. This suited Cripps. He thought Tiff was doing 
his duty, and occasionally brought him home some unsala- 
ble bit of rubbish, by way of testimonial of the sense he 
entertained of his worth. The spectacles in which Tiff 
gloried came to him in this manner ; and, although it might 
have been made to appear that the glasses were only plain 
window-glass, Tiff was happily ignorant that they were not 
the best of convex lenses, and still happier in the fact that 
his strong, unimpaired eyesight made any glasses at all en- 
tirely unnecessary. It was only an aristocratic weakness in 
Tiff. Spectacles he somehow co-usidered the mark of a 
gentleman, and an appropriate symbol for one who had 
"been fetched up in the very fustest families of Old Vir- 
gin ny." 

He deemed them more particularly appropriate, as, in ad- 
dition to his manifold outward duties, he likewise assumed, 
as the reader has seen, some feminine accomplishments. 

110 OLD TIFF. 

Tiff could darn a stocking with anybody in the country ; he 
could cut out children's dresses and aprons ; he could patch, 
and he could seam ; all which he did with infinite self-satis- 

Notwithstanding the many crooks and crosses in his lot, 
Tiff was, on the whole, a cheery fellow. He had an oily, 
rollicking fulness of nature, an exuberance of physical 
satisfaction in existence, that the greatest weight of adver- 
sity could only tone down to becoming sobriety. He was 
on the happiest terms of fellowship with himself ; he liked 
himself, he believed in himself; and, when nobody else 
would do it, he would pat himself on his own shoulder, and 
say, " Tiff, you 're a jolly dog, a fine fellow, and I like you ! " 
He was seldom without a running strain of soliloquy with 
himself, intermingled with joyous bursts of song, and quiet 
intervals of laughter. On pleasant days Tiff laughed a great 
deal. He laughed when his beans came up, he laughed when 
the sun came out after a storm, he laughed for fifty things 
that you never think of laughing at ; and it agreed with him 
— he throve upon it. In times of trouble and perplexity, 
Tiff talked to himself, and found a counsellor who always 
kept secrets. On the present occasion it was not without 
some inward discontent that he took a survey of the re- 
mains of one of his best-fatted chickens, which he had been 
intending to serve up, piecemeal, for his mistress. So he 
relieved his mind by a little confidential colloquy with him 

" Dis yer," he said to himself, with a contemptuous in- 
clination towards the newly-arrived, "will be for eating like 
a judgment, I 'pose. Wish, now, I had killed de old gob- 
bler ! Good enough for him — raal tough, he is. Dis yer, 
now, was my primest chicken, and dar she '11 jist sit and see 
him eat it ! Laws, dese yer women ! Why, dey does get 
so sot on husbands ! Pity they could n't have something 
like to be sot on ! It jist riles me to see him gobbling 
down everything, and she a-looking on ! Well, here goes," 
said he, depositing the frying-pan over the coals, in which 


the chicken was soon fizzling. Drawing- out the table, Tiff 
prepared it for supper. Soon coffee was steaming- over the 
fire, and corn-dodgers baking in the ashes. Meanwhile, 
John Cripps was busy explaining to his wife the celebrated 
wares that had so much raised his spirits. 

" Well, now, you see, Sue, this yer time I've been up to 
Raleigh ; and I met a fellow there, coming from New York, 
or New Orleans, or some of them northern states. 

" New Orleans is n't a northern state," humbly interposed 
his wife, "is it ? " 

"Well, New something! Who the devil cares? Don't 
you be interrupting me, you Suse ! " 

Could Cripps have seen the vengeful look which Tiff 
gave him over the spectacles at this moment, he might 
have trembled for his supper. But, innocent of this, he 
proceeded with his story. 

" You see, this yer fellow had a case of bonnets just the 
height of the fashion. They come from Paris, the capital 
of Europe ; and he sold them to me for a mere song. Ah, 
you ought to see 'em ! I 'm going to get 'em out. Tiff, 
hold the candle, here." And Tift' held the burning torch 
with an air of grim scepticism and disgust, while Cripps 
hammered and wrenched the top boards off, and displayed 
to view a portentous array of bonnets, apparently of every 
obsolete style and fashion of the last fifty years. 

"Dem's fust rate for scare-crows, anyhow!" muttered 

" Now, what," said Cripps, — " Sue, what do vou think I 
gave for these ? " 

" I don't know," said she, faintly. 

"Well, I gave fifteen dollars for the whole box! And 
there an't one of these," said he, displaying the most singu- 
lar specimen on his hand, " that is n't worth from two to five 
dollars. I shall clear, at least, fifty dollars on that box." 

Tiff, at this moment, turned to his frying-pan, and bent 
over it, soliloquizing as he did so. 

"Any way, I 's found out one ting — where de women 

112 OLD TIFF. 

gets dem roosts of bonnets dey wars at camp-meetings. 
Laws, dey 's enough to spile a work of grace, dem ar ! If I 
was to meet one of dem ar of a dark night in a grave-yard, 
I should tink I was sent for — not the pleasantest way of 
sending, neither. Poor missis ! — looking mighty faint! — 
Don't wonder! — 'Nough to scarr a weakly woman into 
fits ! " 

" Here, Tiff, help me to open this box. Hold the light, 
here. Durned if it don't come off hard ! Here 's a lot of 
shoes and boots I got of the same man. Some on 'em ; s 
mates, and some an't ; but, then, I took the lot cheap. 
Folks don't always warr both shoes alike. Might like to 
warr an odd one, sometimes, ef it ; s cheap. Now, this yer 
parr of boots is lady's gaiters, all complete, 'cept there 's a 
hole in the lining down by the toe ; body ought to be care- 
ful about putting it on, else the foot will slip between the 
outside and the lining. Anybody that bears that in mind 
— just as nice a pair of gaiters as they 'd want ! Bargain, 
there, for somebody — complete one, too. Then I 've got 
two or three old bureau-drawers that I got cheap at auc- 
tion ; and I reckon some on 'em will fit the old frame that 
I got last year. Got 'em for a mere song." 

" Bless you, massa, dat ar old bureau I took for de chick- 
en-coop ! Turkeys' chickens hops in lively." 

" 0, well, scrub it up — 'twill answer just as well. Fit 
the drawers in. And now, old woman, we will sit down 
to supper," said he, planting himself at the table, and be- 
ginning a vigorous onslaught on the fried chicken, without 
invitation to any other person present to assist him. 

"Missis can't sit up at the table," said Tiff. "She's 
done been sick ever since de baby was born." And Tiff 
approached the bed with a nice morsel of chicken which he 
had providently preserved on a plate, and which he now 
reverently presented on a board, as a waiter, covered with 

" Now, do eat, missis ; you can't live on looking, no 

OLD TIFF. 113 

ways you can fix it. Do eat, while Tiff gets on de baby's 

To please her old friend, the woman made a feint of eat- 
ing, but, while Tiff's back was turned to the fire, busied 
herself with distributing it to the children, who had stood 
hungrily regarding her, as children will regard what is put 
on to a sick mother's plate. 

" It does me good to see them eat," she said, apologeti- 
cally once, when Tiff, turning round, detected her in the 

" Ah, missis, may be ! but you 've got to eat for two, now. 
What dey eat an't going to dis yer little man, here. Mind 
dat ar." 

Cripps apparently bestowed very small attention on any- 
thing except the important business before him, which he 
prosecuted with such devotion that very soon coffee, 
chicken, and dodgers, had all disappeared. Even the bones 
were sucked dry, and the gravy wiped from the dish. 

"Ah, that's what I call comfortable!" said he, lying 
back in his chair. "Tiff, pull my boots off! and hand out 
that ar demijohn. Sue, I hope you 've made a comfortable 
meal," he said, incidentally, standing with his back to her, 
compounding his potation of whiskey and water ; which 
having drank, he called up Teddy, and offered him the sugar 
at the bottom of the glass. But Teddy, being forewarned 
by a meaning glance through Tiff's spectacles, responded, 
very politely, 

" No, I thank you, pa. I don't love it." 

" Come here, then, and take it off like a man. It 's good 
for you," said John Cripps. 

The mother's eyes followed the child wishfully ; and she 
said, faintly, "Don't, John! — don't!" And Tiff ended 
the controversy by taking the glass unceremoniously out 
of his master's hand. 

" Laws bless you, massa, can't be bodered with dese 
yer young ones dis yer time of night ! Time dey 's all in 
bed, and dishes washed up. Here. Tedd," seizing the 

114 OLD TIFF. 

child, and loosening the buttons of his slip behind, and 
drawing- out a rough trundle-bed, " you crawl in dere, and 
curl up in your nest ; and don't you forget your prars, 
honey, else maybe you '11 never wake up again." 

Cripps had now filled a pipe with tobacco of the most vil- 
lainous character, with which incense he was perfuming the 
little apartment. 

" Laws, massa, dat ar smoke an't good for missis/' said 
Tiff. " She done been sick to her stomach all day." 

" 0, let him smoke! I like to have him enjoy himself," 
said the indulgent wife. " But, Fanny, you had better go 
to bed, dear. Come here and kiss me, child ; good-night, 
— good-night ! " 

The mother held on to her long, and looked at her wish- 
fully ; and when she had turned to go, she drew her back, 
and kissed her again, and said, " Good-night, clear child, 
good-night ! " 

Fanny climbed up a ladder in one corner of the room, 
through a square hole, to the loft above. 

" I say," said Cripps, taking his pipe out of his mouth, 
and looking at Tiff, who was busy washing the dishes, "I 
say it 's kind of peculiar that gal keeps sick so. Seemed 
to have good constitution when I married her. I 'm think- 
ing," said he, without noticing the gathering wrath in 
Tiff's face, "I 'm a thinking whether steamin' wouldn't do 
her good. Now, I got a most dreadful cold when I was up 
at Raleigh — thought I should have given up; and there 
was a steam-doctor there. Had a little kind of machine, 
with kettle and pipes, and he put me in a bed, put in the 
pipes, and set it a-going. I thought, my soul, I should have 
been floated off; but it carried off the cold, complete. I 'm 
thinking if something of that kind would n't be good for 
Miss Cripps." 

" Laws, massa, don't go for to trying it on her ! She is 
never no better for dese yer things you do for her." 

"Now," said Cripps, not appearing to notice the inter- 

OLD TIFF. 115 

ruption, "these yer stove-pipes, and the tea-kettle, — I 
shouldn't wonder if we could get up a steam with them ! " 

" It 's my private 'pinion, if you do, she '11 be sailing out 
of the world," said Tiff. "What's one man's meat is 
another one's pisin, my old mis's used to say. Very best 
thing you can do for her is to let her alone. Dat ar is my 

" John," said the little woman, after a few minutes, " I 
wish you 'd come here, and sit on the bed." 

There was something positive, and almost authoritative, in 
the manner in which this was said, which struck John as so 
unusual, that he came with a bewildered air, sat down, and 
gazed at her with his mouth wide open. 

"I'm so glad you've come home, because I have had 
things that I 've wanted to say to you ! I 've been lying 
here thinking about it, and I have been turning it over in 
my mind. I 'm going to die soon, I know." 

" Ah ! bah ! Don't be bothering a fellow with any of 
your hysterics ! " 

"John, John! it isn't hysterics! Look at me! Look 
at my hand ! look at my face ! I'm so weak, and some- 
times I have such coughing spells, and every time it seems 
to me as if I should die. But it an't to trouble you that j. 
talk. I don't care about myself, but I don't want the chil- 
dren to grow up and be like what we 've been. You have a 
great many contrivances ; do, pray, contrive to have them 
taught to read, and make something of them in the world." 

"Bah! what's the use? I never learnt to read, and 
I 'in as good a fellow as I want. Why, there 's plenty of 
men round here making their money, every year, that can't 
read or write a word. Old Hubell, there, up on the Shad 
plantation, has hauled in money, hand over hand, and he 
always signs his mark. Got nine sons — can't a soul of 
them read or write, more than I. I tell you there 's nothing 
ever comes of this yer laming. It's all a sell — a regular 
Yankee hoax ! I 've always got cheated by them damn 
reading, writing Yankees, whenever I 've traded with 'em. 

116 OLD TIFF, 

What 's the good, I want to know ! You was teached how 
to read when you was young — much good it 's ever done 
you ! " 

" Sure enough ! Sick day and night, moving about 
from place to place, sick baby crying, and not knowing 
what to do for it no more than a child ! O, I hope Fanny 
will learn something ! It seems to me, if there was some 
school for my children to go to, or some church, or some- 
thing — now, if there is any such place as heaven, I should 
like to have them get to it." 

" Ah ! bah ! Don't bother about that ! When we get 
keeled up, that will be the last of us ! Gome, come, don't 
plague a fellow any more with such talk ! I ; m tired, and 
I'm going to sleep." And the man, divesting himself of 
his overcoat, threw himself on the bed, and was soon snor- 
ing heavily in profound slumber. 

Tiff, who had been trotting the baby by the fire, now 
came softly to the bedside, and sat down, 

" Miss Sue," he said, " it 's no 'count talking to him ! I 
don't mean nothing clis'pectful, Miss Sue, but de fac is, 
dem dat is n't horn gentlemen can't be 'spected fur to see 
through clese yer things like us of de old families. Law, 
missis, don't you worry ! Now, jest leave dis yer matter to 
r'xd Tiff! Dere never wasn't anything Tiff couldn't do, if 
he tried. He ! he ! he ! Miss Fanny, she done got de let- 
ters right smart ; and I know I '11 come it round mas'r, and 
make him buy cle books for her. I '11 tell you what 's come 
into my head, to-day. There 's a young lady come to de 
big plantation, up dere, who 's been to New York getting 
edicated, and I 's going for to ask her about dese yer 
things. And, about de chil'en's going to church, and clese 
yer things, why, preaching, you know, is mazin' unsartain 
round here ; but I '11 keep on de look-out, and do de best 
I can. Why, Lord, Miss Sue, I 's bound for the land of 
Canaan, myself, the best way I ken ; and I 'm sartain I 
shan't go without taking the chil'en along with me. Ho ! 
ho I ho ! Dat 's what I shan't ! De chil'en will have to be 

OLD TIFF. 117 

with Tiff, and Tiff will have to be with the chil'en, where- 
ever dey is ! Dat 's it ! He ! he ! he ! " 

" Tiff," said the young woman, her large blue eyes look- 
ing at him, "I have heard of the Bible. Have you ever 
seen one, Tiff? " 

" 0, yes, honey, dar was a big Bible that your ma brought 
in the family when she married ; but dat ar was tore up to 
make wadding for de guns, one thing or anothei, and dey 
never got no more. But I 's been very 'serving, and kept 
my ears open in a camp-meeting, and such places, and I ; s 
learnt right smart of de things that \s in it." 

" Now, Tiff, can you say anything ? " said she, fixing her 
large, troubled eyes on him. 

" Well, honey, dere 's one thing the man said at de last 
camp-meeting. He preached 'bout it, and I couldn't make 
out a word he said, 'cause I an't smart about preaching like 
I be about most things. But he said dis yer so often that 
I could n't help 'member it. Says he, it was dish yer way : 
' Come unto me, all ye labor and are heavy laden, and I will 
give you rest.' " 

"Rest, rest, rest!" said the woman, thoughtfully, and 
drawing a long sigh. "0, how much I want it! Did he 
say that was in the Bible ? " 

"Yes, he said so; and I spects, by all he said, it's de 
good man above dat says it. It always makes me feel bet- 
ter to think on it. It 'peared like it was jist what I was 
wanting to hear." 

"And I, too! " she said, turning her head wearily, and 
closing her eyes. "Tiff," she said, opening them, "where 
I 'm going, may be I shall meet the one who said that, and 
I '11 ask him about it. Don't talk to me more, now. I 'in 
getting sleepy. I thought I was better a little while after 
he came home, but I ; m more tired yet. Put the baby in 
my arms — I like the feeling of it. There, there ; now give 
me rest — please do I " and she sank into a deep and quiet 

Tiff softly covered the fire, and sat down by the bed, 

118 OLD TIFF. 

■watching the flickering shadows as they danced upward on 
the wall, listening to the heavy sighs of the pine-trees, and 
the hard breathing of the sleeping man. Sometimes he 
nodded sleepily, and then, recovering, rose, and took a turn 
to awaken himself. A shadowy sense of fear fell upon him ; 
not that he apprehended anything, for he regarded the 
words of his mistress only as the forebodings of a wearied 
invalid. The idea that she could actually die, and go any- 
where, without him to take care of her, seemed never to 
have occurred to him. About midnight, as if a spirit had 
laid its hand upon him, his eyes flew wide open with a sud- 
den start. Her thin, cold hand was lying on his ; her eyes, 
large and blue, shone with a singular and spiritual radiance. 
"Tiff," she gasped, speaking with difficulty, "I've seen 
the one that said that, and it 's all true, too ! and I We seen 
all why I've suffered so much. He — He — He is going 
to take me ! Tell the children about Him ! " There was a 
fluttering sigh, a slight shiver, and the lids fell over the 
eyes forever. 



Death is always sudden. However gradual may be its 
approaches, it is, in its effects upon the survivor, always 
sudden at last. Tiff thought, at first, that his mistress was 
in a fainting-fit, and tried every means to restore her. It 
was affecting to see him chafing the thin, white, pearly 
hands, in his large, rough, black paws ; raising the head 
upon his arm, and calling in a thousand tones of fond en- 
dearment, pouring out a perfect torrent of loving devotion 
on the cold, unheeding ear. But, then, spite of all he 
could do, the face settled itself, and the hands would not be 
warmed ; the thought of death struck him suddenly, and, 
throwing himself on the floor by the bed, he wept with an 
exceeding loud and bitter cry. Something in his heart 
revolted against awakening that man who lay heavily 
breathing by her side. He would not admit to himself, at 
this moment, that this man had any right in her, or that the 
sorrow was any part of his sorrow. But the cry awoke 
Cripps, who sat up bewildered in bed, clearing the hair from 
his eyes with the back of his hand. 

" Tiff, what the durned are you howling about ? " 

Tiff got up in a moment, and, swallowing down his grief 
and his tears, pointed indignantly to the still figure on the 

"Dar! dar ! Wouldn't b'lieve her last night! Now 
what you think of dat ar ? See how you look now ! Good 
Shepherd hearn you abusing de poor lamb, and he 's done 
took her whar you '11 never see her again ! " 


Cripps had, like coarse, animal men generally, a stupid 
and senseless horror of death ; — he recoiled from the life- 
less form, and sprang from the bed with an expression of 

"Well, now, who would have thought it?" he said. 
" That I should be in bed with a corpse ! I had n't the least 
idea ! " 

"No, dat 's plain enough, you didn't! You'll believe 
it now, won't you ? Poor little lamb, lying here suffering 
all alone ! I tell you, when folks have been sick so long, 
dey has to die to make folks believe anything ails 'em ! " 

"Well, really," said Cripps, "this is really — why, it 
an't comfortable ! darned if it is ! Why, I 'in sorry about 
the gal ! I meant to steam her up, or done something with 
her. What 's we to do now ? " 

"Pretty likely you don't know! Folks like you, dat 
never tends to nothing good, is always flustered when de 
Master knocks at de do' ! I knows what to do, though. 
I 's boun' to get up de crittur, and go up to de old planta- 
tion, and bring clown a woman and do something for her, 
kind of decent. You mind the chil'en till I come back." 

Tiff took down and drew on over his outer garment a 
coarse, light, woollen coat, with very long skirts and large 
buttons, in which he always arrayed himself in cases of 
special solemnity. Stopping at the door before he went 
out, he looked over Cripps from head to foot, with an air of 
patronizing and half-pitiful contempt, and delivered himself 
as follows : 

"Now, mas'r, I 's gwine up, and will be back quick as 
possible ; and now do pray be decent, and let dat ar whis- 
key alone for one day in your life, and 'member death, judg- 
ment, and 'ternity. Just act, now, as if you 'd got a streak 
of something in you, such as a man ought for to have who 
is married to one of cle very fastest families in old Virgin- 
ny. 'Fleet, now, on your latter end ; may be will do your 
poor old soul some good ; and don't you go for to waking up 


the chil'en before I gets back. They '11 learn de trouble 
soon enough." 

Cripps listened to this oration with a stupid, bewildered 
stare, gazing first at the bed, and then at the old man, who 
was soon making all the speed he could towards Canema. 

Nina was not habitually an early riser, but on this morn- 
ing she had awaked with the first peep of dawn, and, finding 
herself unable to go to sleep again, she had dressed herself, 
and gone clown to the garden. 

She was walking up and down in one of the alleys, think- 
ing over the perplexities of her own affairs, when her ear 
was caught by the wild and singular notes of one of those 
tunes commonly used among the slaves as dirges. The 
words " She ar dead and gone to heaven " seemed to come 
floating down upon her ; and, though the voice was cracked 
and strained, there was a sort of wildness and pathos in it, 
which made a singular impression in the perfect stillness of 
everything around her. She soon observed a singular-look- 
ing vehicle appearing in the avenue. 

This wagon, which was no other than the establishment 
of Cripps, drew Nina's attention, and she went to the hedge 
to look at it. Tiff's watchful eye immediately fell upon her, 
and, driving up to where she was standing, he climbed out 
upon the ground, and, lifting his hat, made her a profound 
obeisance, and "hoped de young lady was bery well, dis 

" Yes, quite well, thank you, Uncle," said Nina, regard- 
ing him curiously. 

"We's in 'fliction to our house!" said Tiff, solemnly. 
" Dere 's been a midnight cry dere, and poor Miss Sue 
(dat 's my young missis), she 's done gone home." 

" Who is your mistress ? " 

"Well, her name was Seymour 'fore she married, and her 
ma come from de Virginny Peytons, — great family, dem 
Peytons ! She was so misfortunate as to get married, as 
gals will, sometimes," said Tiff, speaking in a confidential 
tone. " The man wan't no 'count, and she 's had a drefful 


hard way to travel, poor thing ! and dere she 's a lying at 
last stretched out dead, and not a woman nor nobody to do 
de least thing ; and please, missis, Tin corned for to see if 
de young lady would n't send a woman for to do for her — 
getting her ready for a funeral." 

" And who are you, pray ? " 

"Please, missis, I 's Tiff Peyton, lis. I 's raised in Vir- 
ginny, on de great Peyton place, and I 's gin to Miss Sue's 
mother ; and when Miss Sue married dis yer man, dey was 
all 'fended, and would n' t speak to her ; but I tuck up for 
her, 'cause what 's de use of matin' a bad thing worse ? 
I'sa 'pinion, and telled 'em, dat he oughter be 'couraged 
to behave hisself, seem' the thing was done, and could n't 
be helped. But no, dey would n't ; so I jest tells 'em, says 
I, 'You may do jis you please, but old Tiff's a gwine with 
her,' says I. ' I '11 follow Miss Sue to de grave's mouth,' 
says I ; and ye see I has done it." 

" Well done of you ! I like you better for it," said Nina. 
"You just drive up to the kitchen, there, and tell Eose to 
give you some breakfast-, while I go up to Aunt Nesbit." 

" No, thank you, Miss Nina, I 's noways hungry. 'Pears 
like, when a body 's like as I be, swallerin' down, and all de 
old times risin' in der throat all de time, dey can't eat ; dey 
gets filled all up to der eyes with feelin's. Lord, Miss Nina, 
I hope ye won't never know what 't is to stand outside de 
gate, when de best friend you 've got 's gone in ; it 's hard, 
dat ar is ! " And Tiff pulled out a decayed-looking handker- 
chief, and applied it under his spectacles. 

" Well, wait a minute, Tiff." And Nina ran into the house, 
while Tiff gazed mournfully after her. 

"Well, Lor ; just de way Miss Sue used to run — trip, 
trip, trip ! — little feet like mice ! Lord's will be done ! " 

"0, Milly ! " said Nina, meeting Milly in the entry, 
" here you are. Here 's a poor fellow waiting out by the 
hedge, his mistress dead all alone in the house, with children 
— no woman to do for them. Can't you go down ? you 


could do so "well ! You know how better than any one else 
in the house." 

" Why, that must be poor old Tiff! " said Milly ; " faith- 
ful old creature ! So that poor woman 's gone, at last ? the 
better for her, poor soul I Well, I ; 11 ask Miss Loo if I may 
go — or you ask her, Miss Nina." 

A quick, imperative tap on her door startled Aunt Nes- 
bit, who was standing at her toilet, finishing her morning's 
dressing operations. 

Mrs. Nesbit was a particularly systematic, early riser. 
Nobody knew why ; only folks who have nothing to do are 
often the most particular to have the longest possible time 
to do it in. 

"Aunt," said Nina, "there's a poor fellow, out here, 
whose mistress is just dead, all alone in the house, and wants 
to get some woman to go there to help. Can't you spare 
Milly ? " 

" Milly was going to clear-starch my caps, this morning," 
said Aunt Nesbit. " I have arranged everything with refer- 
ence, for a week past." 

" Well, aunt, can't she do it to-morrow, or next day, just 
as well ? " 

" To-morrow she is going to rip up that black dress, and 
wash it. I am always systematic, and have everything ar- 
ranged beforehand. Should like very much to do anything 
I could, if it was n't for that. Why can't you send Aunt 
Katy ? " 

" Why, aunt, you know we are to have company to din- 
ner, and Aunt Katy is the only one who knows where any- 
thing is, or how to serve things out to the cook. Besides, 
she 's so hard and cross to poor people, I don't think she 
would go. I don't see, I 'm sure, in such a case as this, 
why you could n't put your starching off. Milly is such a 
kind, motherly, experienced person, and they are in afflic- 

" 0, these low families don't mind such things much," 
said Aunt Nesbit, fitting on her cap, quietly ; " they never 


have much feeling. There 's no use doing for them — they 
are miserable poor creatures." 

" Aunt Nesbit, do, now, as a favor to me ! I don't often 
ask favors," said Nina. "Do let Milly go ! she 's just the 
one wanted. Do, now, say yes ! " And Nina pressed nearer, 
and actually seemed to overpower her slow-feeling, torpid 
relative, with the vehemence that sparkled in her eyes. 

" Well, I don't care, if— " 

"There, Milly, she says yes !" said she, springing out 
the door. "She says you may. Now, hurry ; get things 
ready. I '11 run and have Aunt Katy put up biscuits and 
things for the children ; and you get all that you know you 
will want, and be off quick, and I '11 have the pony got up, 
and come on behind you." 



The excitement produced by the arrival of Tiff, and the 
fitting out of Milly to the cottage, had produced a most 
favorable diversion in Nina's mind from her own especial 

Active and buoyant, she threw herself at once into what- 
ever happened to come uppermost on the tide of events. 
So, having seen the wagon despatched, she sat down to 
breakfast in high spirits. 

" Aunt Nesbit, I declare I was so interested in that old 
man ! I intend to have the pony, after breakfast, and ride 
over there." 

" I thought you were expecting company." 

"Well, that's one reason, now, why I'd like to be off. 
Do I want to sit all primmed up, smiling and smirking, and 
running to the window to see if my gracious lord is com- 
ing ? No, I won't do that, to please any of them. If I 
happen to fancy to be out riding, I will be out riding." 

"I think," said Aunt Nesbit, "that the hovels of these 
miserable creatures are no proper place for a young lady 
of your position in life." 

" My position in life ! I don't see what that has to do 
with it. My position in life enables me to do anything I 
please — a liberty which I take pretty generally. And, then, 
really, I could n't help feeling rather sadly about it, because 
that Old Tiff, there (I believe that 's his name), told me that 
the woman had been of a good Virginia family. Very likely 
she may have been just such another wild girl as I am, and 


thought as little about bad times, and of dying-, as I do. 
So I could n't help feeling sad for her. It really came over 
me when I was walking in the garden. Such a beautiful 
morning as it was — the birds all singing, and the dew 
all glittering and shining on the flowers ! Why, aunt, the 
flowers really seemed alive ; it seemed as though I could 
hear them breathing, and hear their hearts beating like 
mine. And, all of a sudden, I heard the most wild, mourn- 
ful singing, over in the woods. It was n't anything very 
beautiful, you know, but it was so wild, and strange ! ' She 
is dead and gone to heaven ! — she is dead and gone to 
heaven ! ' And pretty soon I saw the funniest old wagon 
— I don't know what to call it — and this queer old biack 
man in it, with an old white hat and surtout on, and a pair of 
great, funny-looking spectacles on his nose. I went to the 
fence to see who he was ; and he came up and spoke to me, 
made the most respectful bow — you ought to have seen it! 
And then, poor fellow, he told me how his mistress was 
lying dead, with the children around her, and nobody in the 
house ! The poor old creature, he actually cried, and I felt 
so for him ! He seemed to be proud of his dead mistress, 
in spite of her poverty." 

" Where do they live ? " said Mrs. Nesbit. 

" Why, he told me over in the pine woods, near the 

" 0," said Mrs. Nesbit, " I dare say it 's that Cripps fam- 
ily, that 's squatted in the pine woods. A most miserable 
set — all of them liars and thieves ! If I had known who it 
was, I 'm sure I should n't have let Milly go over. Such 
families oughtn't to be encouraged ; there ought n't a thing 
to be done for them ; we should n't encourage them to stay 
in the neighborhood. They always will steal from off the 
plantations, and corrupt the negroes, and get drunk, and 
everything else that's bad. There's never a woman of 
decent character among them, that ever I heard of; and, if 
you were my daughter, I should n't let you go near them." 

" Well, I 'm not your daughter, thank fortune ! " said Nina, 


whose graces always rapidly declined in controversies with 
her aunt, "and so I shall do as I please. And I don't know 
what you pious people talk so for ; for Christ went with 
publicans and sinners, I 'm sure." 

" Well," said Aunt Nesbit, "the Bible says we mustn't 
cast pearls before swine ; and, when you 've lived to be as 
old as I am, you '11 know more than you do now. Every- 
body knows that you can't do anything with these people. 
You can't give them Bibles, nor tracts ; for they can't read. 
I 've tried it, sometimes, visiting them, and talking to them ; 
but it didn't do them any good. I always thought there 
ought to be a law passed to make 'em all slaves, and then 
there would be somebody to take care of them." 

" Well, I can't see," said Nina, "how it's their fault. 
There is n't any school where they could send their chil- 
dren, if they wanted to learn ; and, then, if they want to 
work, there 's nobody who wants to hire them. So, what 
can they do ? " 

" I 'm sure I don't know," said Aunt Nesbit, in that tone 
which generally means I don't care. " All I know is, that* 
I want them to get away from the neighborhood. Giving 
to them is just like putting into a bag with holes. I 'm sure 
I put myself to a great inconvenience on their account to- 
day ; for, if there 's anything I do hate, it is having things 
irregular. And to-day is the day for clear-starching the 
caps — and such a good, bright, sunny day ! — and to-morrow, 
or any other day of the week, it may rain. Always puts 
me all out to have things that I 've laid out to do put out 
of their regular order. I 'd been willing enough to have 
sent over some old things ; but why they must needs take 
Milly's time, just as if the funeral could n't have got ready 
without her ! These funerals are always miserable drunken 
times with them! And, then, who knows, she may catch 
the small-pox, or something or other. There 's never any 
knowing what these people die of." 

"They die of just such things as we do," said Nina. 
" They have that in common with us, at any rate." 


" Yes'; but there's no reason for risking our lives, as I 
know of — especially for such people - — when it don't do 
any good." 

"Why, aunt, what do you know against these folks?- 
Have you ever known of their doing anything wicked ? " 

" 0, I don't know that I know anything against this 
family in particular ; but I know the whole race. These 
squatters — I 've known them ever since I was a girl in 
Virginia. Everybody that knows anything knows exactly 
what they are. There is n't any help for them, unless, as I 
said before, they were made slaves ; and then they could be 
kept decent. You may go to see them, if you like, but I 
don't want my arrangements to be interfered with on their 

Mrs. Nesbit was one of those quietly-persisting people, 
whose yielding is like the stretching of an India-rubber 
band, giving way only to a violent pull, and going back to 
the same place when the force is withdrawn. She seldom 
refused favors that were urged with any degree of impor- 
tunity ; not because her heart was touched, but simply 
because she seemed not to have force enough to refuse ; 
and whatever she granted was always followed by a series 
of subdued lamentations over the necessity which had 
wrung them from her. 

Nina's nature was so vehement and imperious, when 
excited, that it was a disagreeable fatigue to cross her. 
Mrs. Nesbit, therefore, made amends by bemoaning her- 
self as we have seen. Nina started up, hastily, on seeing 
her pony brought round to the door ; and, soon arrayed in 
her riding-dress, she was cantering through the pine woods 
in high spirits. The day was clear and beautiful. The floor 
of the woodland path was paved with a thick and cleanly 
carpet of the fallen pine-leaves. And Harry was in attend- 
ance with her, mounted on another horse, and riding but a 
very little behind ; not so much so but what his mistress 
could, if she would, keep up a conversation with him. 

" You know this Old Tiff, Harry ? " 


" 0, yes, very well. A very good, excellent creature, and 
very much the superior of his master, in most respects." 

" "Well, he says his mistress came of a good family." 

" I should n't wonder," said Harry. " She always had a 
delicate appearance, very different from people in their cir- 
cumstances generally. The children, too, are remarkably 
pretty, well-behaved children ; and it 's a pity they could n't 
be taught something, and not grow up and go on these mis- 
erable ways of these poor whites ! " 

" Why don't anybody ever teach them ? " said Nina. 

" Well, Miss Nina, you know how it is : everybody has 
his own work and business to attend to — there are no 
schools for them to go to — there 's no work for them to do. 
In fact, there don't seem to be any place for them in society. 
Boys generally grow up to drink and swear. And, as for 
girls, they are of not much account. So it goes on from 
generation to generation." 

" This is so strange, and so different from what it is in the 
northern states ! Why, all the children go to school there 
— the very poorest people's children ! Why, a great many 
of the first men, there, were poor children ! Why can't 
there be some such thing here ? " 

" 0, because people are settled in such a scattering way, 
they can't have schools. All the land that's good for any- 
thing is taken up for large estates. And, then, these poor 
folks that are scattered up and down in between, it's no- 
body's business to attend to them, and they can't attend to 
themselves ; and so they grow up, and nobody knows how 
they live, and everybody seems to think it a pity they are 
in the world. I 've seen those sometimes that would be glad 
to do something, if they could find anything to do. Planters 
don't want them on their places — they'd rather have their 
own servants. If one of them wants to be a blacksmith, or 
a carpenter, there 's no encouragement. Most of the large 
estates have their own carpenters and blacksmiths. And 
there 's nothing for them to do, unless it is keeping dogs 
to hunt negroes ; or these little low stores where they sell 


whiskey, and take what 's stolen from the plantations. 
Sometimes a smart one gets a place as overseer on a plan- 
tation. Why, I 've heard of their coming- so low as actually 
to sell their children to traders, to get a bit of bread." 

" What miserable creatures ! But do you suppose it can 
be possible that a woman of any respectable family can have 
married a man of this sdrt ? " 

" Well, I don't know, Miss Nina ; that might be. You 
see, good families sometimes degenerate ; and when they get 
too poor to send their children off to school, or keep any 
teachers for them, they run down very fast. This man is 
not bad-looking, and he really is a person who, if he had had 
any way opened to him, might have been a smart man, and 
made something of himself and family .; and when he was 
young and better-looking, I should n't wonder if an unedu- 
cated girl, who had never been off a plantation, might have 
liked him ; he was fully equal, I dare say, to her brothers. 
You see, Miss Nina, when money goes, in this part of the 
country, everything goes with it ; and when a family is not 
rich enough to have everything in itself, it goes down very 

"At any rate, I pity the poor things," said Nina. "I 
don't despise them, as Aunt Nesbit does." 

Here Nina, observing the path clear and uninterrupted 
for some distance under the arching pines, struck her horse 
iii to a canter, and they rode on for some distance without 
speaking. Soon the horse's feet splashed and pattered on 
the cool, pebbly bottom of a small, shallow stream, which 
flowed through the woods. This stream went meandering 
among the pines like a spangled ribbon, sometimes tying 
itself into loops, leaving open spots — almost islands of 
green — graced by its waters. Such a little spot now 
opened to the view of the two travellers. It was something 
less than a quarter of an acre in extent, entirely surrounded 
by the stream, save only a small neck of about four feet, 
which connected it to the main land. 

Here a place had been cleared and laid off into a garden, 


which, it was evident, was carefully tended. The log-cabin 
which stood in the middle was far from having the appear- 
ance of wretchedness which Xina had expected. It was 
almost entirely a dense mass of foliage, being covered with 
the intermingled drapery of the Virginia creeper and the 
yellow jessamine. Two little borders, each side of the house, 
were blooming with flowers. Around the little island the 
pine-trees closed in unbroken semi-circle, and the brook 
meandered away through them, to lose itself eventually in 
that vast forest of swampy land which girdles the whole 
Carolina shore. The whole air of the place was so unex- 
pectedly inviting, in its sylvan stillness and beauty, that 
Xina could not help checking her horse, and exclaiming, 

" I 'm sure, it 's a pretty place. They can't be such very 
forsaken people, after all." 

"0, that's all Tiff's work," said Harry. "He takes 
care of everything outside and in, while the man is off after 
nobody knows what. You "d be perfectly astonished to see 
how that old creature manages. He sews, and he knits, 
and works the garden, does the house-work, and teaches the 
children. It 's a fact ! You '11 notice that they have n't the 
pronunciation or the manners of these wild white children ; 
and I take it to be all Tiff's watchfulness, for that creature 
has n't one particle of selfishness in him. He just identifies 
himself with his mistress and her children." 

By this time Tiff had perceived their approach, and came 
out to assist them in dismounting. 

" De Lord above bless you, Miss Gordon, for coming to 
see my poor missis ! Ah ! she is lying dere just as beauti- 
ful, just as she was the very day she was married ! All her 
young looks come back to her ; and Milly, she done laid 
her out beautiful ! Lord, I 's wanting somebody to come 
and look at her, because she has got good blood, if she be 
poor. She is none of your common sort of poor whites, 
Miss Xina. Just come in ; come in, and look at her." 

Xina stepped into the open door of the hut. The bed 
was covered with a clean white sheet, and the body, arrayed 


in a long white night-dress brought by Milly, lay there so 
very still, quiet, and life-like, that one could scarcely realize 
the presence of death. The expression of exhaustion, 
fatigue, and anxiety, which the face had latterly worn, had 
given place to one of tender rest, shaded by a sort of mys- 
terious awe, as if the closed eyes were looking on unutter- 
able things. The soul, though sunk below the horizon of 
existence, had thrown back a twilight upon the face radiant 
as that of the evening heavens. 

By the head of the bed the little girl was sitting, dressed 
carefully, and her curling hair parted in front, apparently 
fresh from the brush ; and the little boy was sitting beside 
her, his round blue eyes bearing an expression of subdued 

Cripps was sitting at the foot of the bed, evidently much 
the worse for liquor ; for, spite of the exhortation of Tiff, he 
had applied to the whiskey-jug immediately on his depart- 
ure. Why not ? Tie was uncomfortable — gloomy ; and 
every one, under such circumstances, naturally inclines 
towards some source of consolation. He who is intellectual 
reads and studies ; he who is industrious flies to business ; he 
who is affectionate seeks friends ; he who is pious, religion ; 
but he who is none of these — what has he but his whiskey ? 
Cripps made a stupid, staring inclination toward Nina and 
Harry, as they entered, and sat still, twirling his thumbs and 
muttering to himself. 

The sunshine fell through the panes on the floor, and there 
came floating in from without the odor of flowers and the 
song of birds. All the Father's gentle messengers spoke 
of comfort ; but he as a deaf man heard not — as a blind 
man did not regard. For the rest, an air of neatness had 
been imparted to the extreme poverty of the room, by the 
joint efforts of Milly and Tiff. 

Tiff entered softly, and stood by Nina, as she gazed. He 
had in his hand several sprays of white jessamine, and he 
laid one on the bosom of the dead. 


" She had a hard walk of it," he said, "but she 's got 
home ! Don't she look peaceful ? — poor lamb ! " 

The little, thoughtless, gay coquette had never looked on 
a sight like this before. She stood with a fixed, tender 
thoughtfulness, unlike her usual gayety, her riding-hat hang- 
ing carelessly by its strings from her hands, her loose hair 
drooping over her face. 

She heard some one entering the cottage, but she did not 
look up. She was conscious of some one looking over her 
shoulder, and thought it was Harry. 

"Poor thing! how 3 r oung she looks," she said, " to have 
had so much trouble ! " Her voice trembled, and a tear stood 
in her eye. There was a sudden movement ; she looked up, 
and Clayton was standing by her. 

She looked surprised, and the color deepened in her 
cheek, but was too ingenuously and really in sympathy with 
the scene before her even to smile. She retained his hand 
a moment, and turned to the dead, saying, in an under-tone, 
" See here ! " 

" I see," he said. " Can I be of service ? " 

"The poor thing died last night," said Nina. "I sup- 
pose some one might help about a funeral. Harry," she 
said, walking softly towards the door, and speaking low, 
" you provide a coffin ; have it made neatly." 

"Uncle," she said, motioning Tiff towards her, "where 
would they have her buried ? " 

" Buried ? " said Tiff. " 0, Lord ! buried ! " And he cov- 
ered his face with his hard hands, and the tears ran through 
his fingers. 

"Lord, Lord! Well, it must come, I know, but 'pears 
like I could n't ! Laws, she 's so beautiful ! Don't, to-day ! 

"Indeed, Uncle," said Nina, tenderly, "I'm sorry I 
grieved you ; but you know, poor fellow, that must come." 

" I 's known her ever since she 's dat high ! " said Tiff. 
"Her har was curly, and she used to war such pretty red 
shoes, and come running after me in de garden. ' Tiff, Tiff,' 


she used to say — and dar she is now, and stroubles brought 
her dar ! Lord, what a pretty gal she was ! pretty as you 
be, Miss Nina. But since she married dat ar," pointing 
with his thumb over his shoulder, and speaking confiden- 
tially, " everything went wrong. I 's held her up — did all 
I could ; and now here she is ! " 

" Perhaps," said Nina, laying her hand on his, "perhaps 
she 's in a better place than this." 

" 0, Lord, dat she is ! She told me dat when she died. 
She saw de Lord at last, — she did so ! Dem 's her last 
words. ' Tiff/ she says, ' I see Him, and He will give me 
rest. Tiff/ she says, — I 'd been asleep, you know, and I 
kinder felt something cold on my hand, and I woke up right 
sudden, and dar she was, her eyes so bright, looking at me 
and breathing so hard ; and all she says was, ' Tiff, I 've 
seen Him, and I know now why I 've suffered so ; He 's 
gwine to take me, and give me rest ! ' " 

" Then, my poor fellow, you ought to rejoice that she is 

" 'Deed I does," said Tiff; "yet I 's selfish. I wants to 
be dere too, I does — only I has de chil'en to care for." 

" Well, my good fellow," said Nina, " we must leave you 
now. Harry will see about a coffin for your poor mistress ; 
and whenever the funeral is to be, our carriage will come 
over, and we will all attend." 

"Lord bless you, Miss Gordon ! Dat ar too good on ye I 
My heart 's been most broke, tinking nobody cared for my 
poor young mistress ! you 's too good, dat you is ! " 

Then, drawing near to her, and sinking his voice, he said: 
" 'Bout de mourning, Miss Nina. He an't no 'count, you 
know — body can see how 'tis with him very plain. But 
missis was a Peyton, you know ; and I 's a Peyton, too. I 
naturally feels a 'sponsibility he could n't be 'spected fur to. 
I ; s took de ribbons off of Miss Fanny's bonnet, and done 
de best I could trimming it up with black crape what Milly 
gave me ; and I 's got a band of black crape on Master 
Teddy's hat ; and I 'lowed to put one on mine, but there 


was n't quite enough. You know, missis, old family ser- 
vants always wars mourning. If missis just be pleased to 
look over my work ! Now, dis yer is Miss Fanny's bonnet. 
You know I can't be spected for to make it like a milliner." 

" They are very well indeed, Uncle Tiff." 

" Perhaps, Miss Nina, you can kind of touch it over." 

" 0, if you like, Uncle Tiff, I '11 take them all home, and 
do them for you." 

"The Lord bless you, Miss Gordon! Dat ar was just 
what I wanted, but was most 'fraid to ask you. Some gay 
young ladies does n't like to handle black." 

" Ah ! Uncle Tiff, I 've no fears of that sort ; so put it in 
the wagon, and let Milly take it home." 

So saying, she turned and passed out of the door where 
Harry was standing, holding the horses. A third party 
might have seen, by the keen, rapid glance with which his 
eye rested upon Clayton, that he was measuring the future 
probability which might make him the arbiter of his own 
destiny — the disposer of all that was dear to him in life. 
As for Nina, although the day before a thousand fancies and 
coquetries would have colored the manner of her meeting 
Clayton, yet now she was so impressed by what she had wit- 
nessed, that she scarcely appeared to know that she had 
met him. She placed her pretty foot on his hand, and let 
him lift her on to the saddle, scarcely noticing the act, ex- 
cept by a serious, graceful inclination of her head. 

One great reason of the ascendency which Clayton had 
thus far gained over her, was that his nature, so quiet, 
speculative, and undemonstrative, always left her such per- 
fect liberty to follow the more varying moods of her own. 
A man of a different mould would have sought to awake 
her out of the trance — would have remarked on her ab- 
stracted manner, or rallied her on her silence. Clayton 
merely mounted his horse and rode quietly by her side, 
while Harry, passing on before them, was soon out of sight. 



They rode on in silence, till their horses' feet again clat- 
tered in the clear, pebbly water of the stream. Here Nina 
checked her horse ; and, pointing' round the circle of pine 
forests, and up the stream, overhung with bending trees 
and branches, said : 

"Hush! — listen!" Both stopped, and heard the sway- 
ing of the pine-trees, the babble of the waters, the cawing 
of distant crows, and the tapping of the woodpecker. 

" How beautiful everything is ! " she said. " It seems to 
me so sad that people must die ! I never saw anybody dead 
before, and you don't know how it makes me feel ! To think 
that that poor woman was just such a girl as I am, and 
used to be just so full of life, and never thought any more 
than I do that she should lie there all cold and dead ! Why 
is it things are made so beautiful, if we must die ? " 

" Eemember what you said to the old man, Miss Nina. 
Perhaps she sees more beautiful things, now." 

" In heaven ? Yes ; I wish we knew more about heaven, 
so that it would seem natural and home-like to us, as this 
world does. As for me, I can't feel that I ever want to 
leave this world — I enjoy living so much ! I can't forget 
how cold her hand was ! I never felt anything like that 
cold ! " 

In all the varying moods of Nina, Clayton had never seen 
anything that resembled this. But he understood the pe- 
culiar singleness and earnestness of nature which made any 
one idea, or impression, for a time absolute in her mind. 


They turned their horses into the wood-path, and rode on 
in silence. 

" Do you know/' said she, "it's such a change coming 
from New York to live here ? Everything is so unformed, 
so wild, and so lonely ! I never saw anything so lonesome 
as these woods are. Here you can ride miles and miles, 
hours and hours, and hear nothing but the swaying of the 
pine-trees, just as you hear it now. Our place (you never 
were there, were you ?) stands all by itself, miles from any 
other ; and I 've been for so many years used to a thickly- 
settled country, that it seems very strange to me. I can't 
help thinking things look rather deserted and desolate, here. 
It makes me rather sober and sad. I don't know as you 7 h 
like the appearance of our place. A great many things arc 
going to decay about it ; and yet there are some thingt 
that can't decay ; for papa was very fond of trees and shrub 
bery, and we have a good deal more of them than usual, 
Are you fond of trees ? " 

" Yes ; I 'm almost a tree-worshipper. I have no respect 
for a man who can't appreciate a tree. The only good thing 
I ever heard of Xerxes was, that he was so transported with 
the beauty of a plane-tree, that he hung it with chains of 
gold. This is a little poetical island in the barbarism of 
those days." 

" Xerxes ! " said Nina. " I believe I studied something 
about him in that dismal, tedious history, a u Madame Ar- 
daine's ; but nothing so interesting as that, I m sure. But 
what should he hang gold chains on a tree feu ? " 

" 'T was the best way he knew of expressing his good 

" Do you know," said Nina, half checking her horse, 
suddenly, " that I never had the least idea that these men 
were alive that we read about in these histories, or that 
they had any feelings like ours ? We always studied the 
lessons, and learnt the hard names, and how forty thousand 
were killed on one side, and fifty thousand on the other ; 
and we don't know any more about it than if we never had. 


That 's the way we girls studied at school, except a few 
' l^oky' ones, who wanted to be learned, or meant to be 

" An interesting resume, certainly/' said Clayton, laugh- 

" But, how strange it is," said Nina, "to think that all 
those folks we read about are alive now, doing something 
somewhere; and I get to wondering where they are — 
Xerxes, and Alexander, and the rest of them. Why, they 
were so full of life they kept everything in commotion while 
in this world ; and I wonder if they have been keeping 
a going ever since. Perhaps Xerxes has been looking round 
at our trees —nobody knows. But here we are coming now 
to the beginning of our grounds. There, you see that holly- 
hedge ! Mamma had that set out. She travelled in England, 
and liked the hedges there so nmch that she thought she 
would see what could be done with our American holly. 
So she had these brought from the woods, and planted. 
You see it all grows wild, now, because it has n't been cut 
for many years. And this live-oak avenue my grandfather 
set out. It's my pride and delight." 

As she spoke, a pair of broad gates swung open, and 
they cantered in beneath the twilight arches of the oaks. 
Long wreaths of pearly moss hung swinging from the 
branches, and, although the sun now was at high noon, a 
dewy, dreamy coolness seemed to rustle through all the 
leaves. As Clayton passed in, he took off his hat, as he 
had often done in foreign countries in cathedrals. 

" Welcome to Canema ! " said she, riding up to him, and 
looking up frankly into his face. 

The air, half queenly, half childish, with which this was 
said, was acknowledged by Clayton with a grave smile, as 
he replied, bowing, 

" Thank you, madam." 

" Perhaps," she added, in a grave tone, "you '11 be sorry 
that you ever came here." 

" What do you mean by that ? " he replied. 


" I don't know ; it just came into my head to say it. 
We none of us ever know what 's going to come of what 
we do." 

At this instant, a violent clamor, like the cawing of a 
crow, rose on one side of the avenue ; and the moment 
after, Tomtit appeared, caricoling, and cutting a somerset ; 
his curls Hying, his cheeks glowing. 

" Why, Tomtit, what upon earth is this for ? " said Xina. 

" Laws, missis, deres been a gen'elman waiting for you at 
the house these two hours. And missis, she 's done got on 
her best cap, and gone down in the parlor for him." 

Nina felt herself blush to the roots of her hair, and was 
vexed and provoked to think she did so. Involuntarily her 
eyes met Clayton's. But he expressed neither curiosity 
nor concern. 

" What a pretty drapery this light moss makes ! " said 
he. " I was n't aware that it grew so high up in the state." 

" Yes ; it is very pretty," said Xina, abstractedly. 

Clayton, however, had noticed both the message and the 
blush, and was not so ill-informed as Xina supposed as to the 
whole affair, having heard from a Xew York correspond- 
ent of the probability that an arrival might appear upon 
the field about this time. He was rather curious to watch 
the development produced by this event. They paced up 
the avenue, conversing in disconnected intervals, till they 
came out on the lawn which fronted the mansion — a large, 
gray, three-story building, surrounded on the four sides by 
wide balconies of wood. Access was had to the lower of 
these by a broad flight of steps. And there Xina saw, plain 
enough, her Aunt Xesbit in all the proprieties of cap and 
silk gown, sitting, making the agreeable to Mr. Carson. 

Mr. Frederic Augustus Carson was one of those nice lit- 
tle epitomes of conventional society, which appear to such 
advantage in factitious life, and are so out of piac? 'n the 
undress, sincere surroundings of country life. Xina had 
liked his society extremely well in the drawing-rooms and 
opera-houses of Xew York. But, in the train of thought 


inspired by the lonely and secluded life she was now lead- 
ing, it seemed to her an absolute impossibility that she 
could, even in coquetry and in sport, have allowed such an 
one to set up pretensions to her hand and heart. She was 
vexed with herself that she had done so, and therefore not 
in the most amiable mood for a meeting-. Therefore, when, 
on ascending the steps, he rushed precipitately forward, 
and, offering his hand, called her Nina, she was ready to die 
with A^exation. She observed, too, a peculiar swelling and 
rustling of Aunt Nesbit's plumage, — an indescribable air 
of tender satisfaction, peculiar to elderly ladies who are 
taking an interest in an affair of the heart, which led her 
to apprehend that the bachelor had commenced operations 
by declaring his position to her. 'T was with some embar- 
rassment that Nina introduced Mr. Clayton, whom Aunt 
Nesbit received with a most stately curtsey, and Mr. Carson 
with a patronizing bow. 

" Mr. Carson has been waiting for you these two hours," 
said Aunt Nesbit. 

" Very warm riding, Nina," said Mr. Carson, observing 
her red cheeks. " You 've been riding too fast, I fear. You 
must be careful of yourself. I 've known people bring on 
very grave illnesses by over-heating the blood ! " 

Clayton seated himself near the door, and seemed to be 
intent on the scene without. And Carson, drawing his 
chair close to Nina, asked, in a confidential under-tone, 

" Who is that gentleman ? " 

" Mr. Clayton, of Cla3 r tonviHe," said Nina, with as much 
hauteur as she could assume. 

" Ah, yes ! — Hem ! — hem ! I 've heard of the family — 
a very nice family — a very worthy young man — extremely, 
I 'm told. Shall be happy to make his acquaintance." 

" I beg," said Nina, rising, "the gentlemen will excuse 
me a moment or two." 

Clayton replied by a grave bow, while Mr. Carson, with 
great empressement, handed Nina. to the door. The moment 
it was closed, she stamued, with anger, in the entry. 


" The provoking fool ! to take these airs with me ! And 
I, too — I deserve it ! What on earth could make me think 
I conld tolerate that man ? " 

As if Nina's cup were not yet full, Aunt Nesbit followed 
her to her chamber with an air of unusual graciousness. 

" Nina, my dear, he has told me all about it ! and I as- 
sure you I 'm very much pleased with him ! " 

" Told you all about ivhat? " said Nina. 

" Why, your engagement, to be sure ! I'm delighted to 
think you 've done so well ! I think your Aunt Maria, and 
all of them, will be delighted ! Takes a weight of care off 
my mind ! " 

" I wish you wouldn't trouble yourself about me, or my 
affairs, Aunt Nesbit!" said Nina. "And, as for this old 
pussy-cat, with his squeaking boots, I won't have him pur- 
ring round me, that 's certain ! So provoking - , to take that 
way towards me ! Call me Nina, and talk as though he 
were lord paramount of me, and everything here ! I '11 let 
him know ! " 

" Why, Nina ! Seems to me this is very strange conduct ! 
I am very much astonished at you ! " 

"I dare say you are, aunt! I never knew the time I 
did n't astonish you ! But this man I detest ! " 

" Well, then, my dear, what were you engaged to him 
for ? " 

"Engaged! Aunt, for pity's sake, do hush ! Engaged ! I 
should like to know what a New York engagement amounts 
to ! Engaged at ihe opera ! — Engaged for a joke ! Why, 
he was my boucpiet-holder ! The man is just an opera 
libretto ! He was very useful in his time. But who wants 
him afterwards ? " 

"But, my dear Nina, this trifling with gentlemen's 
hearts ! " 

'■' I '11 warrant his heart ! It 's neither sugar nor salt, I ; !1 
assure you. I '11 tell you what, -aunt, he loves good eat- 
ing, good drinking, nice clothes, nice houses, and good 
times generally ; and he wants a pretty wife as a part of a 


whole ; and he thinks he' 11 take me. But he is mistaken 1 
Calling me ' Nina/ indeed ! Just let me have a chance of 
seeing him alone ! I '11 teach him to call me ' Nina ' ! I '11 
let him know how things stand ! " 

" But, Nina, you must confess you 've given him occasion 
for all this." 

" Well, supposing I have ? I '11 give him occasion for 
something else, then ! " 

"Why, my dear," said Aunt Nesbit, "he came on to 
know when you '11 fix the day to be married ! " 

" Married ! 0, my gracious ! Just think of the creature's 
talking about it ! Well, it is my fault, as you say ; but I '11 
do the best I can to mend it." 

"Well, I 'm really sorry for him," said Aunt Nesbit. 

"You are, aunt? Why don't you take him yourself, 
then ? You are as j r oung and good-looking as he is." 

" Nina, how you talk ! " said Aunt Nesbit, coloring and 
bridling. " There ivas a time when I was n't bad-looking, 
to be sure ; but that 's long since past." 

" 0, that 's because you always dress in stone-color and 
drab," said Nina, as she stood brushing and arranging her 
curls. " Come, now, and go down, aunt, and do the best 
you can till I make my appearance. After all, as you say, 
I 'm the most to blame. There 's no use in being vexed 
with the old soul. So, aunt, do be as fascinating as you 
can ; see if you can't console him. Only remember how you 
used to turn off lovers, when you were of my age." 

" And who is this other gentleman, Nina ? " 

" 0, nothing, only he is a friend of mine. A very good 
man — good enough for a minister, any day, aunt, and not 
so stupid as good people generally are, either." 

" Well, perhaps you are engaged to him? " 

" No, I am not ; that is to say, I won't be to anybody. 
This is an insufferable business ! I like Mr. Clayton, be- 
cause he can let me alone, don't look at me in that abom- 
inably delighted way all the time, and dance about, calling 


mo Nina ! He and I are very good friends, that 's all. I 'm 
not going to hare any engagements anywhere." 
" Well, Nina, I'll go down, and you make haste." 
While the gentlemen and Aunt Nesbit were waiting in 
the saloon, Carson made himself extremely happy and at 
home. It was a large, cool apartment, passing, like a hall, 
completely through the centre of the house. Long French 
windows, at either end, opened on to balconies. The pillars 
of the balconies were draped and garlanded with wreaths 
of roses now in full bloom. The floor of the room was the 
polished mosaic of different colors to which we have for- 
merly alluded. Over the mantel-piece was sculptured in oak 
the Gordon arms. The room was wainscoted with dark 
wood, and hung with several fine paintings, by Copley and 
Stuart, of different members of the family. A grand piano, 
lately arrived from Xew York, was the most modern-looking 
article in the room. AEost of the furniture was of the heavy 
dark mahogany, of an antique pattern. Clayton sat by the 
door, still admiring the avenue of oaks which were to be 
seen across the waving green of the lawn. 

In about half an hour Xina reappeared in a flossy cloud 
of muslin, lace, and gauzy ribbons. Dress was one of those 
accomplishments for which the little gypsy had a natural in- 
stinct ; and, without any apparent thought, she always fell 
into that kind of color and material which harmonized with 
her style of appearance and character. There was always 
something floating and buoyant about the arrangement of 
her garments and drapery ; so that to see her move across 
the floor gave one an airy kind of sensation, like the gam- 
bols of thistle-down. Her brown eyes had a peculiar re- 
semblance to a bird's ;' and this effect was increased by a 
twinkling motion of the head, and a fluttering habit of move- 
ment peculiar to herself: so that when she swept by in 
rosy gauzes, and laid one ungloved hand lightly on the 
piano, she seemed to Clayton much like some saucy bird — 
very good indeed if let alone, but ready to fly on the slight- 
est approach. 


Clayton had the rare faculty of taking- in every available 
point of observation, without appearing to stare. 

" 'Pon my word, Nina," said Mr. Carson, coming towards 
her with a most delighted air, " you look as if you had fallen 
out of a rainbow ! " 

Nina turned away very coolly, and began arranging her 

" 0, that 's right ! " said Carson ; " give us one of your 
songs. Sing something from the Favorita. You know it's 
my favorite opera," said he, assuming a most sentimental 

"0, I'm entirely out of practice — I don't sing at all. 
I 'm sick of all those opera-songs ! " And Nina skimmed 
across the floor, and out of the open door by which Clayton 
was lounging, and began busying herself amid the flowers 
that wreathed the porch. In a moment Carson was at her 
heels ; for he was one of those persons who seem to think 
it a duty never to allow any one to be quiet, if they can pos- 
sibly prevent it. 

" Have you ever studied the language of flowers, Nina ? " 
said he. 

" No, I don't like to study languages." 

" You know the signification of' a full-blown rose ? " said 
he, tenderly presenting her with one. 

Nina took the rose, coloring with vexation, and then, 
plucking from the bush a rose of two or three days' bloom, 
whose leaves were falling out, she handed it to him, and 

" Do you understand the signification of this? " 

" 0, you have made an unfortunate selection ! This rose is 
all falling to pieces ! " said Mr. Carson, innocently. 

" So I observed," said Nina, turning away quickly ; then, 
making one of her darting movements, she was in the mid- 
dle of the saloon again, just as the waiter announced dinner. 

Clayton rose gravely, and offered his arm to Aunt Nesbit ; 
and Nina found herself obliged to accept the delighted 
escort of Mr. Carson, who, entirely unperceiving, was in 


the briskest possible spirits, and established himself com- 
fortably between Aunt Nesbit and Nina. 

" You must find it very dull here — very barren country, 
shockingly so ! What do you find to interest yourself 
in ? " said he. 

"Will you take some of this gumbo ? " replied Nina. 

"I always thought," said Aunt Nesbit, "it was a good 
plan for girls to have a course of reading marked out to 
them when they left school." 

" 0, certainly," said Carson. "I shall be happy to mark 
out one for her. I we done it for several young ladies." 

At this moment Nina accidentally happened to catch 
Clayton's eye, which was fixed upon Mr. Carson with an air 
of quiet amusement greatly disconcerting to her. 

" Now," said Mr. Carson, " I have no opinion of making 
Hues of young ladies ; but still, I think, Mrs. Nesbit, that a 
little useful information adds greatly to their charms. Don't 
you ? " 

" Yes," said Mrs. Nesbit. " I 've been reading Gibbon's 
Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, lately." 

'-'Yes," said Nina, "aunt's been busy about that ever 
since I can remember." 

" That 's a very nice book," said Mr. Carson, looking 
solemnly at Nina ; " only, Mrs. Nesbit, an't you afraid of 
the infidel principle ? I think, in forming the minds of the 
young, you know, one cannot be too careful." 

" Why, he struck me as a very pious writer 1 " said Aunt 
Nesbit, innocently. " I 'm sure, he makes the most reli- 
gious reflections, all along. I liked him particularly on that 

It seemed to Nina that, without looking at Clayton, she 
was forced to meet his eye. No matter whether she di- 
rected her attention to the asparagus or the potatoes, it 
was her fatality always to end by a rencounter with his eye ; 
and she saw, for some reason or other, the conversation was 
extremely amusing to him. 

"For my part," said Nina, "I don't know what sort of 


principles Aunt Nesbit's history, there, has ; but one thing 
I 'm pretty certain of, — that/'m not in any danger from 
any such thick, close-printecl, old, stupid-looking books as 
that. I hate reading, and I don't intend to have my mind 
formed ; so that nobody need trouble themselves to mark 
out courses for me ! What is it to me what all these old 
empires have been, a hundred years ago ? It is as much as 
I can do to attend to what is going on now." 

" For my part," said Aunt Nesbit, " 1 've always regretted 
that I neglected the cultivation of my mind when I was 
young. I was like Nina, here, immersed in vanity and 

" People always talk," said Nina, reddening, " as if there 
was but one kind of vanity and folly in the world. I think 
there can be as much learned vanity and folly as we girls 
have ! " And she looked at Clayton indignantly, as she saw 
him laughing. 

" I agree with Miss Gordon, entirely. There is a great 
deal of very stupid respectable trifling, which people pur- 
sue under the head of courses of reading," he said. " And 
I don't wonder that most compends of history which are 
studied in schools should inspire any lively young lady 
with a life-long horror, not only of history, but of reading." 

"Do you think so ? " said Nina, with a look of inexpress- 
ible relief. 

" I do, indeed," said Claj^ton. " And it would have been 
a very good thing for many of our historians, if they had 
been obliged to have shaped their histories so that they 
would interest a lively school-girl. We literary men, then, 
would have found less sleepy reading. There is no reason 
why a young lady, who would sit up all night reading a 
novel, should not be made to sit up all night with a history. 
I '11 venture to say there 's no romance can come up to the 
gorgeousness and splendor, and the dramatic power, of 
things that really have happened. All that 's wanting is to 
have it set before us with an air of reality." 


"But, then," said Nina, " you 'd have to make the his- 
tory into a romance." 

"Well, a good historical romance is generally truer than 
a dull history ; because it gives some sort of conception of 
the truth ; whereas, the dull history gives none." 

"Well, then," said Nina, "I '11 confess, now, that about 
all the history I do know has been got from Walter Scott's 
novels, I always told our history-teacher so ; but she in- 
sisted upon it that it was very dangerous reading." 

"For my part," said Mrs. Nesbit, "I 've a great horror 
of novel-reading, particularly for young ladies. It did me 
a great deal of harm when I was young. It dissipates the 
mind ; it gives false views of life." 

" 0, law ! " said Nina. " We used to write compositior.3 
about that, and I 've got it all by heart — how it raises 
false expectations, and leads people to pursue phantoms, 
rainbows, and meteors, and all that sort of thing ! " 

"And yet," said Clayton, "all these objections would 
lie against perfectly true history, and the more so just in 
proportion to its truth. If the history of Napoleon Bon- 
aparte were graphically and minutely given, it would lie 
open to the very same objections. It would produce the 
very same cravings for something out of the commonplace 
course of life. There would be the same dazzling mixture 
of bad and good qualities in the hero, and the same lassi- 
tude and exhaustion after the story was finished. And com- 
mon history does not do this, simply because it is not true 
— does not produce a vivid impression of the reality as it 

Aunt Nesbit only got an indefinite impression, from this 
harangue, that Clayton was defending novel-reading, and 
felt herself called to employ her own peculiar line of rea- 
soning to meet it, which consisted in saying the same thing 
over and over, at regular intervals, without appearing to hear 
or notice anything said in reply. Accordingly, she now 
drew herself up, with a slightly virtuous air, and said to Mr. 


" I must say, after all, that I don't approve of novel-read- 
ing. It gives false views of life, and disgusts young people 
with their duties." 

" I was only showing, madam, that the same objection 
would apply to the best-written history," said Clayton. 

" I think novel-reading does a great deal of harm," re- 
joined Aunt Nesbit. "I never allow myself to read any 
work of fiction. I ; m principled against it." 

" For my part," said Nina, " I wish I could find that kind 
of history you are speaking of; I believe I could read that." 

" 'T would be very interesting history, certainly," said 
Mr. Carson. " I should think it would prove a very charm- 
ing mode of writing. I wonder somebody don't produce 

" For my part," said Aunt Nesbit, " I confine myself en- 
tirely to what is practically useful. Useful information is 
all I desire." 

"Well, I suppose, then, I 'm very wicked," said Nina ; 
"but I don't like anything useful. Why, I 've sometimes 
thought, when I 've been in the garden, that the summer- 
savory, sage, and sweet-majoram, were just as pretty as 
many other flowers ; and I could n't see any reason why I 
should n't like a sprig of one of them for a bouquet, except 
that I 've seen them used so much for stuffing turkeys. 
Well, now, that seems very bad of me, don't it ? " 

" That reminds me," said Aunt Nesbit, "that Rose has 
been putting sage into this turkey again, after all that I 
said to her. I believe she does it on purpose." 

At this moment Harry appeared at the door, and requested 
to speak to Nina. 

After a few moments' whispered conversation, she came 
back to the table, apparently disconcerted. 

" I 'm so sorry — so very sorry ! " she said. " Harry has 
been riding all round the country to find a minister to attend 
the funeral, this evening. It will be such a disappointment 
to that poor fellow ! You know the negroes think so much 
of having prayers at the grave ! " . 


" If no one else can be found to read prayers, I will," 
said Clayton. 

" 0, thank you ! will you, indeed ? " said Nina. " I 'm. 
glad of it, now, for poor Tiff's sake. The coach will be out 
at five o'clock, and we '11 ride over together, and make as 
much of a party as we can." 

" Why, child," said Aunt Nesbit to Nina, after they re- 
turned to the parlor, " I did not know that Mr. Clayton was 
an Episcopalian." 

" He is n't," said Nina. "He and his family all attend 
the Presbyterian church." 

" How strange that he should offer to read prayers ! " said 
Aunt Nesbit. " I don't approve of such things, for my 

" Such things as what ? " 

" Countenancing Episcopal errors. If we are right, they 
are wrong, and we ought not to countenance them." 

" But, aunt, the burial-service is beautiful." 

" Don't approve of it ! " said Aunt Nesbit. 

" Why, you know, as Clayton is n't a minister, he would 
not feel like making an extempore prayer." 

"Shows great looseness of religious principle," said 
Aunt Nesbit. " Don't approve of it ! " 



The golden arrows of the setting sun were shooting 
hither and thither through the pine woods, glorifying what- 
ever they touched with a life not its own. A chorus of 
birds were pouring out an evening melody, when a little 
company stood around an open grave. With instinctive 
care for the feeling of the scene, Nina had arrayed herself 
in a black silk dress, and plain straw bonnet with black 
ribbon — a mark of respect to the deceased remembered and 
narrated by Tiff for many a year after. 

Cripps stood by the head of the grave, with that hopeless, 
imbecile expression with which a nature wholly gross and 
animal often contemplates the symbols of the close of mor- 
tal existence. Tiff stood by the side of the grave, his white 
hat conspicuously draped with black crape, and a deep weed 
of black upon his arm. The baby, wrapped in an old black 
shawl, was closely fondled in his bosom, while the two chil- 
dren stood weeping bitterly at his side. The other side of 
the grave stood Mr. Carson and Mr. Clayton, while Milly, 
Harry, and several plantation slaves, were in a group 

The coffin had been opened, that all might take that last 
look, so coveted, yet so hopeless, which the human heart 
will claim on the very verge of the grave. It was but a 
moment since the coffin had been closed ; and the burst of 
grief which shook the children was caused by that last 
farewell. As Clayton, in a musical voice, pronounced the 
words "I am the resurrection and the life," Nina wept and 


sobbed as if the grief bad. been her own ; nor did she cease 
to -weep during- the whole touching service. It was the 
same impulsive nature which made her so gay in other 
scenes that made her so sympathetic here. When the whole 
was over, she kissed the children, and, shaking hands with 
old Tiff, promised to come and sec them on the morrow. 
After which, Clayton led her to the carriage, into which he 
and Carson followed her. 

" Upon my word/' said Carson, briskly, "this has been 
quite solemn ! Really, a very interesting funeral, indeed ! 
I was delighted with the effect of our church service : in 
such a romantic place, too ! ; T was really very interesting. 
It pleases me, also, to see young ladies in your station, 
Nina, interest themselves in the humble concerns of the 
poor. If young ladies knew how much more attractive it 
made them to show a charitable spirit, they would cultivate 
it more. Singular-looking person, that old negro ! Seems 
to be a good creature. Interesting children, too ! I should 
think the woman must have been pretty when she was 
young. Seen a great deal of trouble, no doubt, poor thing ! 
It 's a comfort to hope she is better off now." 

Nina was filled with indignation at this monologue ; 
not considering that the man was giving the very best he 
had in him, and laboring assiduously at what he considered 
his vocation, the prevention of half an hour of silence in 
any spot of earth where he could possibly make himself 
heard. The same excitement which made Nina cry made 
him talk. But he was not content with talking, but in- 
sisted upon asking Nina, every moment, if she did n't think 
it an interesting occasion, and if she had not been much 

" I don't feel like talking, Mr. Carson," said Nina. 

"0 — ah — yes, indeed ! You 've been so deeply affected 
— yes. Naturally does incline one to silence. Understand 
your feelings perfectly. Very gratifying to me to see you 
take such a deep interest in your fellow-creatures." 

Nina could have pushed him out of the carriage. 


" For my part," continued Carson, " I think we don't 
reflect enough about this kind of things — I positively 
don't. It really is useful sometimes to have one's thoughts 
turned in this direction. It does us good." 

Thus glibly did Carson proceed to talk away the impres- 
sion of the whole scene they had witnessed. Long before 
the carriage reached home, Nina had forgotten all her 
sympathy in a tumult of vexation. She discovered an 
increasing difficulty in making Carson understand, by 
any degree of coolness, that he was not acceptable ; and 
saw nothing before her but explanations in the very plainest 
terms, mortifying and humiliating as that might be. His 
perfect self-complacent ease, and the air with which he 
constantly seemed to appropriate her as something which 
of right belonged to himself, filled her with vexation. But 
yet her conscience told her that she had brought it upon 

" I won't bear this another hour ! " she said to herself, as 
she ascended the steps toward the parlor. " All this before 
Clayton, too ! What must he think of me ? " But they 
found tea upon the table, and Aunt Nesbit waiting. 

"It's a pity, madam, you were not with us. Such an 
interesting time ! " said Mr. Carson, launching, with great 
volubility, into the tide of discourse. 

" It would n't have done for me at all," said Mrs. Nes- 
bit. " Being out when the dew falls, always brings on 
hoarseness. I have been troubled in that way these two or 
three years. Now I have to be very careful. Then I 'm 
timid about riding in a carriage with John's driving." 

" I was amused enough," said Nina, "with Old Hun- 
dred's indignation at having to get out the carriage and 
horses to go over to what he called a ' cracker funeral.' I 
really believe, if he could have upset us without hurting 
himself, he would have done it." 

"For my part," said Aunt Nesbit, " I hope that family 
will move off before long. It 's very disagreeable having 
such people round." 


" The children look very pretty and bright/' said Nina. 

" 0, there 's no hope for them ! They'll grow up and be 
just like their parents. I Ve seen that sort of people all 
through and through. I don't wish them any evil ; only I 
don't want to have anything to do with them ! " 

" For my part," said Nina, " I 'm sorry for them. I won- 
der why the legislature, or somebody, don't have schools, 
as they do up in New York State ? There is n't anywhere 
there where children can't go to school, if they wish to. 
Besides, aunt, these children really came from an old fam- 
ily in Virginia. Their old servant-man says that their 
mother was a Peyton." 

" I don't believe a word of it ! They '11 lie — all of them. 
They always do." 

" Well," said Nina, " I shall do something for these chil- 
dren, at any rate." 

" I quite agree with you, Nina. It shows a very excel- 
lent spirit in you," said Mr. Carson. " You '11 always find 
me ready to encourage everything of that sort." 

Nina frowned, and looked indignant. But to no purpose. 
Mr. Carson went on remorselessly with his really good- 
hearted rattle, till Nina, at last, could bear it no longer. 

" How dreadfully warm this room is ! " said she, spring- 
ing up. " Come, let's go back into the parlor.' 

Nina was as much annoyed at Clayton's silence, and his 
quiet, observant reserve, as with Carson's forth-putting. 
Eising from table, she passed on before the company, with a 
half-flying trip, into the hall, which lay now cool, calm, 
and breezy, in the twilight, with the odor of the pillar-roses 
floating in at the window. The pale white moon, set in 
the rosy belt of the evening sky, looked in at the open door. 
Nina would have given all the world to be still ; but, well 
aware that stillness was out of the question, she deter- 
mined to select her own noise ; and, sitting down at the 
piano, began playing very fast, in a rapid, restless, discon- 
nected manner. Clayton threw himself on a lounge by the 
open door ; while Carson busied himself fluttering the 


music, opening and shutting music-books, and interspers- 
ing- running commentaries and notes of admiration on the 

At last, as if she could bear it no longer, she rose, with a 
very decided air, from the piano, and, facing about towards 
Mr. Carson, said : 

" It looks very beautifully out doors. Don't you want to 
come out ? There 's a point of view at the end of one of 
the paths, where the moon looks on the water, that I should 
like to show you." 

" Won't you catch cold, Nina ? " said Aunt Nesbit. 

" No, indeed ! I never catch cold," said Nina, springing 
into the porch, and taking the delighted Mr. Carson's arm. 
And away she went with him, with almost a skip and a 
jump, leaving Clayton tete-a-tete with Aunt Nesbit. 

Nina went so fast that her attendant was almost out of 
breath. They reached a little knoll, and there Nina stopped 
suddenly, and said, " Look here, Mr. Carson ; I have some- 
thing to say to you." 

' ' I should be delighted, my dear Nina ! 1 7 m perfectly 
charmed ! " 

"No — no — if you please — don't!" said Nina, putting 
up her hand to stop him. "Just wait till you hear what I 
have to say. I believe you did not get a letter which I 
wrote you a few days ago, did you ? " 

" A letter ! no, indeed. How unfortunate ! " 

" Very unfortunate for me I " said Nina ; " and for you, 
too. Because, if you had, it would have saved you and 
me the trouble of this interview. I wrote that letter to tell 
you, Mr. Carson, that I cannot think of such a thing as an 
engagement with you ! That I 've acted very wrong and 
very foolishly ; but that I cannot do it. In New York, 
where everybody and everything seemed to be trifling, and 
where the girls all trifled with these things, I was engaged 
— just for a frolic — nothing more. I had no idea what it 
would amount to ; no idea what I was saying, nor how I 
should feel afterwards. But, every hour since I 've been 


home, here, since I 've been so much alone, has made me 
feel how wrong it is. Now, I 'm very sorry, I 'm sure. But 
I must speak the truth, this time. But it is — I can't tell 
you how — disagreeable to me to have you treat me as you 
have since you 've been here ! " 

"Miss Gordon!" said Mr. Carson, "I am positively 
astonished ! I — I don't know what to think ! " 

"Well, I only want you to think that I am in earnest; 
and that, though I can like you very well as an acquaint- 
ance, and shall always wish you well, yet anything else is 
just as far out of the question as that moon there is from 
us. I can't tell you how sorry I am that I 've made you all 
this trouble. I really am," said she, good-naturedly ; "but 
please now to understand how we stand." She turned, 
and tripped away. 

" There ! " said she, to herself, " at any rate, I 've done 
one thing ! " 

Mr. Carson stood still, gradually recovering from the 
stupor into which this communication had thrown him. He 
stretched himself, rubbed his eyes, took out his watch and 
looked at it, and then began walking off with a very sober 
pace in the opposite direction from Nina. Happily-consti- 
tuted mortal that he was, nothing ever could be subtracted 
from his sum of complacence that could not be easily bal- 
anced by about a quarter of an hour's consideration. The 
walk through the shrubbery in which he was engaged was 
an extremely pretty one, and wound along on the banks of 
the river through many picturesque points of view, and 
finally led again to the house by another approach. During 
the course of this walk Mr. Carson had settled the whole 
question for himself. In the first place, he repeated the 
comfortable old proverb, that there wore as good fish in 
the sea as ever were caught. In the second place, as Mr. 
Carson was a shrewd business-man, it occurred to him, in 
this connection, that the plantation was rather run clown, 
and not a profitable acquisition. And, in the third place, 
contemplating Nina as the fox of old did his bunch of sour 


grapes, he began to remember that, after all, she was dressy, 
expensive, and extravagant. Then, as he did not want 
in that imperturbable good-nature which belongs to a very 
shallow capability of feeling, he said to himself that he 
should n't like the girl a bit the less. In fact, when he 
thought of his own fine fortune, his house in New York, 
and all the accessories which went to make up himself, he 
considered her, on the whole, as an object of pity ; and, by 
the time that he ascended the balcony steps again, he was 
in as charitable and Christian a frame as any rejected suitor 
could desire. 

He entered the drawing-room. Aunt Nesbit had ordered 
candles, and was sitting up with her gloves on, alone. 
What had transpired during his walk, he did not know ; but 
we will take our readers into confidence. 

Nina returned to the house with the same decided air 
with which she went out, and awakened Mr. Clayton from a 
revery with a brisk little tap of her fan on his shoulder. 

" Come up here with me," she said, " and look out of the 
library window, and see this moonlight." 

And up she went, over the old oaken staircase, stopping 
on each landing ; and, beckoning to Clayton, with a whimsi- 
cally authoritative gesture, threw open the door of a large, 
black-wainscoted room, and ushered him in. The room lay 
just above the one where they had been sitting, and, like 
that, opened on to the veranda by long-sashed windows, 
through which, at the present moment, a flood of moonlight 
was pouring. A large mahogany writing-table, covered 
with papers, stood in the middle of the room, and the moon 
shone in so brightly that the pattern of the bronze inkstand, 
and the color of the wafers and sealing-wax, were plainly 
revealed. The window commanded a splendid view of the 
river over the distant tree-tops, as it lay shimmering and 
glittering in the moonlight. 

"Isn't that a beautiful sight ? " said Nina, in a hurried 

" Very beautiful ! " said Clayton, sitting down in the large 


lounging-chair before the window, and looking out with the 
abstracted air which was habitual with him. 

After a moment's thought, Nina added, with a sudden 

" But, after all, that was not what I wanted to speak to 
you about. I wanted to see you somewhere, and say a few 
words which it seems to me it is due to you that I should 
say. I got your last letter, and I 'm sure I am very much 
obliged to your sister for all the kind things she says ; but I 
think you must have been astonished at what you have seen 
since you have been here." 

"Astonished at what 1 " said Clayton, quietly. 

"At Mr. Carson's manners towards me." 

" I have not been astonished at all," replied Clayton, 

" I think, at all events," said Nina, " I think it is no more 
than honorable that I should tell you exactly how things 
have stood. Mr. Carson has thought that he had a right to 
me and mine ; and I was so foolish as to give him reason to 
think so. The fact is, that I have been making a game of 
life, and saying and doing anything and everything that 
came into my head, just for frolic. It don't seem to me 
that there has been anything serious or real about me, until 
very lately. Somehow, my acquaintance with you has 
made things seem more real to me than they ever did before ; 
and it seems to me now perfectly incredible, the way we 
girls used to play and trifle with everything in the world. 
Just for sport, I was engaged to that man ; just for sport, 
too, I have been engaged to another one." 

"And," said Clayton, breaking the silence, "just for 
sport, have you been engaged to me ? " 

" No," said Nina, after a few moments' silence, "not in 
sport, certainly ; but, yet, not enough in earnest. I think 
I am about half waked up. I don't know myself. I don't 
know where or what I am, and I want to go back into that 
thoughtless d ;eam. I do really think it 's too hard to take 
up the responsibility of living in good earnest. Now, it 


seems to me just this, — that I cannot be bound to anybody. 
I want to be free. I have positively broken all connection 
with Mr. Carson ; I have broken with another one, and I 
wish — ■ " 

" To break with me ? " said Clayton. 

" I don't really know as I can say what I do wish. It is 
a very different thing from any of the others, but there 's a 
feeling- of dread, and responsibility, and constraint, about it ; 
and, though I think I should feel very lonesome now with- 
out you, and though I like to get your letters, yet it seems 
to me that I cannot be engaged, — that is a most dreadful 
feeling to me." 

"My dear friend," said Clayton, " if that is all, make 
yourself easy. There 's no occasion for our being engaged. 
If you can enjoy being with me and writing to me, why, do 
it in the freest way, and to-morrow shall take care for, the 
things of itself. You shall say what you please, do what 
you please, write when you please, and not write when you 
please, and have as many or as few letters as you like. 
There can be no true love without liberty." 

"0, I'm sure I'm much obliged to you!" said Nina, 
with a sigh of relief. "And, now, do you know, I like your 
sister's postscript very much, but I can't tell what it is in 
it ; for the language is as kind as can be, that would give 
me the impression that she is one of those very proper kind 
of people, that would be dreadfully shocked if she knew of 
all my goings on in New York." 

Clayton could hardly help laughing at the instinctive 
sagacity of this remark. 

"I'm sure I don't know," said he, "where you could 
have seen that, — in so short a postscript, too." 

" Do you know, I never take anybody's hand-writing into 
my hand, that I don't feel an idea of them come over me, 
just as you have when you see people ? And that idea came 
over me when I read your sister's letter." 

" Well, Nina, to tell you the truth, sister Anne is a little 
bit conventional — a little set in her ways ; but, after all, a 


large-hearted, warm-hearted woman. You would like each 
other, I know." 

" I don't know about that," said Nina. " I am very apt 
to shock proper people. Somehow or other, they have a 
faculty of making me contrary." 

" Well, but, you see, Anne isn't merely a conventional 
person ; there 's only the slightest crust of conventionality, 
and a real warm heart under it." 

"Whereas," said Nina, "most conventional people are 
like a shallow river, frozen to the bottom. But, now, really, 
I should like very much to have your sister come and visit 
us, if I could think that she would come as any other friend ; 
but, you know, it is n't very agreeable to have anybody 
come to look one over to see if one will do." 

Clayton laughed at the naive, undisguised frankness of 
this speech. 

" You see," said Nina, "though I 'm nothing but an ig- 
norant school-girl, I 'in as proud as if I had everything to 
be proud of. Now, do you know, I don't much like writing 
to your sister, because I don't think I write very good let- 
ters ! I never could sit still long enough to write." 

" Write exactly as you talk," said Clayton. " Say just 
what comes into your head, just as you would talk it. I 
hope you will do that much, for it will be very dull writing 
all on one side." 

"Well," said Nina, rising, with animation, "now, Mr. 
Edward Clayton, if we have settled about this moonlight, 
we may as well go down into the parlor, where Aunt Nesbit 
and Mr. Carson are tete-a-tete." 

" Poor Carson ! " said Clayton. 

" 0, don't pity him ! Good soul ! he 's a man that one 
night's rest would bring round from anything in creation. 
He 's so thoroughly good-natured ! Besides, 1 shall like 
him better, now. He did not use to seem to me so intrusive 
and disagreeable. We girls used to like him very well, he 
was such a comfortable, easy-tempered, agreeable creature, 
always brisk and in spirits, and knowing everything that 


went on. But he is one of those men that I think would be 
really insufferable, if anything serious were the matter with 
one. Now, you heard how he talked, coming from that 
funeral ! Do you know, that if he had been coming from 
my funeral, it would have been just so ? " 

" 0, no, not quite so bad," said Clayton. 

" Indeed he is/ 7 said Nina. " That man ! why, he just puts 
me in mind of one of these brisk blue-flies, whirring and 
whisking about, marching over pages of books, and alight- 
ing on all sorts of things. When he puts on that grave 
look, and begins to talk about serious things, he actually 
looks to me just as a fly does when he stands brushing his 
wings on a Bible ! But, come, let 's go down to the good 

Down they went, and Nina seemed like a person enfran- 
chised. Never had she seemed more universally gracious. 
She was chatty and conversable with Carson, and sang over 
for him all her old opera-songs, with the better grace that 
she saw that Clayton was listening intently. 

As they were sitting and conversing together, the sound 
of horse's heels was heard coming up the avenue. 

"Who can that be, this time of night?" said Nina, 
springing to the door, and looking out. 

She saw Harry hastening in advance to meet her, and 
ran down the veranda steps to speak to him. 

" Harry, who is coming ? " 

" Miss Nina, it 's Master Tom," said Harry, in a low 

" Tom ! 0, mercy ! " said Nina, in a voice of apprehen- 
sion. " What sent him here, now ? " 

" What sends him anywhere ? " said Harry. 

Nina reascended the steps, and stood looking apprehen- 
sively towards the horseman, who approached every moment 
nearer. Harry came up on the veranda, and stood a little 
behind her. In a few moments the horse was up before the 


" Hallo, there ! " said the rider. " Come, take my horse, 
you rascal ! " 

Harry remained perfectly still, put his arms by his side, 
and stood with a frowning expression on his forehead. 

" Don't you hear ? " said the horseman, throwing himself 
off, with an oath. " Come here, boy, and take my horse ! " 

" For pity's sake," said Nina, turning and looking in Har- 
ry's face, " don't have a scene here ! Do take his horse, 
quick ! Anything to keep him quiet ! " 

With a sudden start, Harry went down the steps, and 
took the bridle from the hand of the newly-arrived in silence. 

The horseman sprang up the steps. 

"Hallo, Nin, is this you?" And Nina felt herself 
roughly seized in the arms of a shaggy great-coat, and 
kissed by lips smelling of brandy and tobacco. She faintly 
said, as she disengaged herself, 

" Tom, is it you ? " 

" Yes, to be sure ! Who did you think it was ? Devilish 
glad to see me, an't you ? Suppose you was in hopes I 
would n't come ! " 

" Hush, Tom, do ! I am glad to see you. There are 
gentlemen in there ; don't speak so loud ! " 

" Some of your beaux, hey ? Well, I am as good a fel- 
low as any of 'em ! Free country, I hope ! No, I an't go- 
ing to whisper, for any of them. So now, Nin — If there 
isn't old Starchy, to be sure J" said he, as Aunt Nesbit 
came to the door. " Hallo, old girl, how are you ? " 

"Thomas !•" said Mrs. Nesbit, softly, "Thomas ! " 

" None of your Thomasing me, you old pussy-cat ! Don't 
you be telling me, neither, to hush ! I won't hush, neither ! 
I know what I am about, I guess ! It 's my house, as much 
as it is Nin's, and I 'm going to do as I have a mind to 
here ! I an't going to have my mouth shut on account of 
her beaux ! So, clear out, I tell you, and let me come in ! " 
and Aunt Nesbit gave back, He pushed his way into the 
• He was a young man, about twenty-five years old, who 


evidently had once possessed advantages of face and figure ; 
but every outline in the face was bloated and rendered un- 
meaning by habits of constant intemperance. ITis dark 
eyes had that muddy and troubled expression which in a 
young man too surely indicates the habitual consciousness 
of inward impurity. His broad, high forehead was flushed 
and pimpled, his lips swollen and tumid, and his whole air 
and manner gave painful evidence that he was at present 
too far under the influence of stimulus justly to apprehend 
what he was about. 

Nina followed him, and Clayton was absolutely shocked 
at the ghastly paleness of her face. She made an uncertain 
motion towards him, as if she would have gone to him for 
protection. Clayton rose ; Carson, also ; and all stood for a 
moment in silent embarrassment. 

"Well, this is a pretty business, to be sure! Nina," 
said he, turning to her, with a tremendous oath, "why 
don't you introduce me ? Pretty way to meet a brother you 
have n't seen for three or four years ! You act as if you 
were ashamed of me ! Confound it all ! introduce me, I 
say ! " 

" Tom, don't speak so ! " said Nina, laying her hand on his 
arm, in a soothing tone. " This gentleman is Mr. Clayton ; 
and, Mr. Clayton," she said, lifting her eyes to him, and 
speaking in a trembling voice, "this is my brother." 

Mr. Clayton offered his hand, with the ordinary expres- 
sions of civility. 

" Mr. Carson," said Nina, " my brother." 

There was ' something inexpressibly touching and affect- 
ing in the manner in which this was said. One other person 
noticed it. Harry, who had given the horses to the ser- 
vants, stood leaning against the doorway, looking on. A 
fiery gleam, like that of a steel blade, seemed to shoot from 
his blue eyes ; and each time that Nina said " my brother," 
he drew in his breath, as one who seeks to restrain himself 
in some violent inward emotion. 

" I suppose you don't any of you want to see me much," 


said the new-comer, taking a chair, and sitting- down dog- 
gedly in the centre of the group, with his hat on his head. 
" Well, I hare as good a right as anybody to be here ! " he 
continued, spitting a quid of tobacco at Aunt Nesbit's feet. 
"For. my part, I think relations ought to have natural affec- 
tion, and be glad to see one another. Well, now, you can 
see, gentlemen, with your own eyes, just how it is here ! 
There 's my sister, there. You better believe me, she has n't 
seen me for three years ! Instead of appearing glad, or any- 
thing, there she sits, all curled up in a corner ! Won't come 
near me, more than if I had the plague ! Come here, now, 
you little kit, and sit in my lap ! " 

He made a movement to pull Nina towards him, which 
she resisted with an air of terror, looking at her aunt, who, 
more terrified still, sat with her feet drawn up on the sofa, 
as if he had been a mad dog. There was reason enough 
for the terror which seemed to possess them both. Both 
had. too vivid recollections of furious domestic hurricanes 
that had swep.t over the family when Tom Gordon came 
home. Nina remembered the storms of oaths and curses 
that had terrified her when a child ; the times that she had 
seen her father looking like death, leaning his head on his 
hand, and sighing as only those sigh who have an only son 
worse than dead. 

It is no wonder, therefore, that Nina, generally courage- 
ous and fearless as she was, should have become fearful and 
embarrassed at his sudden return. 

"Tom," she said, softly, coming up to him, "you 
have n't been to supper. Had n't you better come out ? " 

" No you don't ! " said he, catching her round the waist, 
and drawing her on his knee. "You won't get me out of 
the room, now ! I know what I am about ! Tell me," 
continued he, still holding her on his knee, " which of them 
is it, Nin ? — which is the favored one ? " " 

Clayton rose and went out on the veranda, and Mr. Car- 
son asked Harry to show him into his room. 

" Hallo ! shelling out there, are they ? Well, Nin, to tell 


the truth, I am deuced hungry. For my part, I don't see 
what the thunder keeps my Jim out so long. I sent him 
across to the post-office. He ought to have been back cer- 
tainly as soon as I was. 0, here he comes ! Hallo ! you 
dog, there ! " said he, going to the door, where a very black 
negro was dismounting. " Any letters ? " 

" No, mas'r. I spect de mails have gin up. Der an't 
been no letters dere, for no one, for a month. It is some 
'quatic disorganization of dese yer creeks, I s'pose. So de 
letter-bags goes anywhere 'cept der right place." 

" Confound it all ! I say, you Nin," turning round, 
" why don't you offer a fellow some supper ? Coming home, 
here, in my own father's house, everybody acts as if they 
were scared to death ! No supper ! " 

"Why, Tom, I 've been asking you, these three or four 

" Bless us ! " said Jim, whispering to Harry. " De mis- 
chief is, he an't more than half-primed ! Tell her to give 
him a little more brandy, and after a little we will get him 
into bed as easy as can be ! " 

And the event proved so ; for, on sitting down to supper, 
Tom Gordon passed regularly through all the stages of 
drunkenness ; became as outrageously affectionate as he 
had been before surly, kissed Nina and Aunt Nesbit, cried 
over his sins and confessed his iniquities, laughed and 
cried feebly, till at last he sank in his chair asleep. 

" Dar, he is done for, now! " said Jim, who had been 
watching the gradual process. " Now, just you and I, let 's 
tote him off," said he to Harry. 

Nina, on her part, retired to a troubled pillow. She fore- 
saw nothing before her but mortification and embarrass- 
ment, and realized more than ever the peculiar loneliness of 
her situation. 

For all purposes of consultation and aid, Aunt Nesbit 
was nobody in her esteem, and Nina was always excited 
and vexed by every new attempt that she made to confide 
in her. 


" Now, to-morrow," she said to herself, as she lay down, 
•'no one knows what will turn up. lie will go round 
as usual, interfering with everything — threatening and 
frightening my servants, and getting up some difficulty 
or other with Harry. Dear me ! it seems to me life is com- 
ing over me hard enough, and all at once, too !" 

As Nina said this, she saw some one standing by her bed. 
It was Milly, who stooped tenderly over her, smoothing and 
arranging the bed-clothes in a motherly way. 

" Is that you, Milly ? 0, sit down here a minute ! I am 
so troubled ! It seems to me 1 7 ve had so much trouble to- 
day ! Do you know Tom came home to-night so drunk ! 0, 
dear Milly, it was horrid ! Do you know he took me in his 
arms and kissed me ; and, though he is my only brother, it 's 
perfectly dreadful to me ! And I feel so worried, and so 
anxious ! " 

" Yes, lamb, I knows all about dese yer things," said 
Milly. "I 's seen him many and many times." 

" The worst of it is," said Nina, " that I don't know what 
he will do to-morrow — and before Mr. Clayton, too ! It 
makes me feel so helpless, ashamed, and mortifies me so ! " 

" Yes, yes, chile," said Milly, gently stroking her head. 

" I stand so much alone ! " said Nina. " Other girls have 
some friend or relation to lean on ; but I have nobody ! " 

"Why don't you ask your Father to help you?" said 
Milly to Nina, in a gentle tone. 

"Ask who?" said Nina, lifting up her head from the 

"Your Father.'" said Milly, with a voice of solemnity. 
" Don't you know ' Our Father who art in Heaven ; ? You 
have n't forgot your prayers, I hope, honey." 

Nina looked at her with surprise. And Milly continued, 
"Now, if! was you, lamb, I would tell my Father all about 
it. Why, chile, He loves you ! He would n't like nothing 
better, now, than to have you just come to Him and tell Him 
all about your troubles, and He '11 make 'em all straight. 


That's the way I does ; and I's found it come out right, 
many and many a time." 

" Why, Milly, you would, n't have me go to God about 
my little foolish affairs ?" 

" Laws, chile, what should you go to Him 'bout, den ? 
Sure dese are all de 'fairs you's got." 

"Well, but, Milly," said Nina, apprehensively, "you 
know I 've been a very bad girl about religion. It's years 
and years since I 've said any prayers. At school, the girls 
used to laugh at anybody who said prayers ; and so I never 
did. And, since I 've neglected my heavenly Father when 
things went well with me, it would n't be fair to call on 
Him now, just because I 've got into trouble. I don't think 
it would be honorable." 

" De Lord bless dis yer chile ! Do hear her talk ! Just 
as if de heavenly Father did n't know all about you, and 
had n't been a loving and watching you de whole time ! 
Why, chile, He knows what poor foolish creatures we be ; 
and He an't noways surprised, nor put out. Why, laws, 
don't you know He 's de good shepherd ? And what you 
suppose dey has shepherds fur, 'cept de sheeps are all de 
time running away, and getting into trouble ? Why, honey, 
clat's ivhat dey 'sfur." 

" Well, but it is so long since I prayed, that I don't know 
anything how to pray, Milly." 

" Bless you, chile, who wanted you to pray ? I never 
prays myself. Used to try, but I made such drefful poor 
work on it that I gin it up. Now, I just goes and talks to 
de Father, and tells Him anything and everything ; and I 
think He likes it a great deal better. Why, He is just as 
willing to hear me now, as if I was the greatest lady in the 
land. And He takes such an interest in all my poor 'fairs ! 
Why, sometimes I go to Him when my heart is so heavy ; 
and, when I tells Him all about it, I comes away as light as 
a feather! " 

" Well, but, after I 've forgotten Him so many years ! " 

" Why, honey, now just look yere ! I 'member once, when 


you was a little weety thing, that you toddles down dem 
steps dere, and you slips away from dem dat was watching 
you, and you toddles away off into de grove, yonder, and 
dere you got picking flowers, and one thing and another, 
mighty tickled and peart. You was down dere 'joying 
yourself, till, by and by, your pa missed you ; and den such 
another hunt as dere was ! Dere was a hurrying here, 
and a looking dere ; and finally your pa run down in the 
woods, and dere you 'd got stuck fast in de mud ! both 
your shoes off, and well scratched with briers ; and dere 
you stood a crying, and calling your pa. I tell you he said 
dat ar was de sweetest music he ever heard in his life. I 
'member he picked you up, and came up to de house kiss- 
ing you. Now, dere 'twas, honey! You didn't call on 
your pa till you got into trouble. And laws, laws, chile, 
dat ; s de way with us all. We never does call on de 
Father till we gets into trouble ; and it takes heaps and 
heaps of trouble, sometimes, to bring us round. Some 
time, chile, I '11 tell you my sperence. I 's got a sperence 
on this point. But, now, honey, don't trouble yourself no 
more ; but just ask your Father to take care of your 'fairs, 
and turn over and go to sleep. And lie '11 do it. Now 
you mind." 

So saying, Milly smoothed the pillow with anxious care, 
and, kissing Nina on the forehead, departed. 



" I say, Nina," said her brother, coming in, a day or two 
after, from a survey that he had been taking round the 
premises, "you want me here to manage this place. Every- 
thing going at sixes and sevens ; and that nigger of a Harry 
riding round with his boots shining. That fellow cheats 
you, and feathers his own nest well. I know ! These white 
niggers are all deceitful." 

" Come, Tom, you know the estate is managed just as 
father left word to have it ; and Uncle John says that Harry 
is an excellent manager. I 'm sure nobody could have been 
more faithful to me ; and I am very well satisfied." 

" Yes, I dare say. All left to you and the executors,, as 
you call them ; as if / were not the natural guardian of my 
sister! Then I come here to put up with that fellow's im- 
pudence ! " 

"Whose? — Harry's? He is never impudent. He is 
always gentlemanly. Everybody remarks it." 

" Gentlemanly ! There it is, Nin I What a fool you are 
to encourage the use of that word in connection with any 
of your niggers! Gentleman, forsooth ! And while he pi ays 
gentleman, who takes care ? I tell you what, you '11 find, 
one of these days, how things are going on. But that's 
just the way ! You never would listen to me, or pay the 
least attention to my advice." 

" 0, Tom, don't talk about that — don't ! I never inter- 
fere about your affairs. Please leave me the right to 
manage mine in my own way." 


"And who is this Clayton that's hanging about here? 
Are you going to have him, or he you — hey ? " 

" I don't know," said Nina. 

" Because I, for one, don't like him • and I shan't give 
my consent to let him have you. That other one is worth 
twice as much. He has one of the largest properties in 
New York. Joe Snider has told me about him. You shall 
have him." 

" I shall not have him, say what you please ; and I shall 
have Mr. Clayton, if I choose ! " said Nina, with a height- 
ened color. " You have no right to dictate to me of my 
own' affairs ; and I shan't submit to it, I tell you frankly." 

" Highty-tighty ! We are coming up, to be sure ! " sai 1 

" Moreover," said Nina, " I wish you to let everything 
on this place entirely alone ; and remember that my ser- 
vants are not your servants, and that you have no control 
over them, whatever." 

" Well, we will see how you '11 help yourself! I am not 
going to go skulking about on my father's own place as if I 
had no right or title there ; and if your niggers don't look 
sharp, they '11 find out whether I am the master here or not, 
especially that Harry. If the dog dare so much as to lift 
his fingers to countermand any one of my orders, I 'd put 
a bullet through his head as soon as I would through a 
buck's. I give you warning ! " 

" 0, Tom, pray don't talk so !" said Nina, who really 
began to be alarmed. "What do you want to make me 
such trouble, for ? " 

The conversation was here suspended by the entrance of 

" If you please, Miss Nina, come and show me which 
of your muslins you wish to be done up, as I 's starching 
for Miss Loo." 

Glad of an opportunity to turn the conversation, Nina 
ran up to her room, whither she was followed by Milly, 
who shut the door, and spoke to her in mysterious tones. 


" Miss Nina, can't you make some errand to get Harry- 
off the place for two or three clays, while Mas'r Tom 's 
round ? " 

" But what right," said Nina, with heightened color, 
"has he to dictate to my servants, or uie ? or to interfere 
with any of our arrangements here ?" 

" 0, dere 's no use talking about rights, honey. We must 
all do jest what we ken. Don't make much odds whether 
our rights is one way or t' other. You see, chile, it 's just 
here. Harry 's your right hand. But you see he an't learnt 
to bend 'fore the wind, like the rest of us. He is spirity ; 
he is just as full now as a powder-bos ; and Mas'r Tom is 
bent on aggravating him. And, laws, chile, dere may be 
bloody work — dere may so ! " 

" Why, do you think he 'd dare — " 

" Chile, don't talk to me ! Dare ! — yes ; sure 'nough he 
will dare ! Besides, dere 's fifty ways young gentlemen 
may take to aggravate and provoke. And, when flesh and 
blood can't bear it no longer, if Harry raises his hand, why, 
den shoot him down ! Nothing said — nothing done. You 
can't help yourself. You won't want to have a law-suit 
with your own brother; and, if you did, ; t wouldn't bring 
Harry to life 1 Laws, chile, ef I could tell you what I 've 
seen — you don't know nothing 'bout it. Now, I tell you, 
get up some message to your uncle's plantation ; send him 
off for anything or nothing ; only have him gone I And 
then speak your brother fair, and then may be he will go 
off. But don't you quarrel ! don't you cross him, come 
what may ! Dere an't a soul on the place that can bar de 
sight on him. But, then, you see the rest dey all bends 1 
But, chile, you must be quick about it ! Let me go right 
off and find him. Just yoxi come in the little back room, 
and I'll call him in." 

Pale and trembling, Nina descended .into the room ; and, 
in a few moments after, Milly appeared, followed by Harry. 

" Harry ! " said Nina, in a trembling voice, " I want you 


to take your horse and go over to Uncle John's plantation, 
and carry a note for me." 

Harry stood with his arms folded, and his eyes fixed upon 
the ground, and Nina continued, 

" And, Harry, I think you had better make some business 
or errand to keep you away two or three days, or a week." 

"Miss Nina," said Harry, "the affairs of the place are 
very pressing now, and need overlooking. A few days' 
neglect now may produce a great loss, and then it will be 
said that I neglected my business to idle and ride round the 

"Well, but, if I send you, I take the responsibility, and 
I '11 bear the loss. The fact is, Harry, I 'm afraid that you 
won't have patience to be here, now Tom is at home. In 
fact, Harry, I 'm afraid for your life ! xVnd now, if you have 
any regard for me, make the best arrangement with the work 
you can, and be off. I '11 tell him that I sent you on business 
of my own, and I am going to write a letter for you to carry 
It 's the only safe way. He has so many ways in which he 
can provoke and insult you, that, at last, you may say or do 
something that will give him occasion against you ; and I 
think he is determined to drive you to this." 

"Isn't this provoking, now ? isn't this outrageous?" 
said Harry, between his teeth, looking down, " that every- 
thing must be left, and all because I have n't the right to 
stand up like a man, and protect you and yours ! " 

" It is a pity ! it is a shame ! " said Nina. " But, Harry, 
don't stop to think upon it ; do go ! " She laid her hand 
softly on his. " For my sake, now, be good — be good ! " 

The room where they were standing had long windows, 
which opened, like those of the parlor, on the veranda, and 
commanded a view of a gravel-walk bordered with shrub- 
bery. As Harry stood, hesitating, he started at seeing Li- 
sette come tripping up the walk, balancing on her head a 
basket of newly-ironed muslins and linens. Her trim little 
figure was displayed in a close-fitting gown of blue, a snowy 
handkerchief crossed upon her bust, and one rounded arm 


raised to steady the basket upon her head. She came trip- 
ping- forward, with her usual airy motion, humming a portion 
of a song ; and attracted, at the same moment, the attention 
of Tom Gordon and of her husband. 

"Ton my word, if that isn't the prettiest concern!" 
said Tom, as he started up and ran down the walk to meet 

" Good-morning, my pretty girl ! " he said. 

" Good-morning, sir," returned Lisette, in her usual tone 
of gay cheerfulness. 

" Pray, who do you belong to, my pretty little puss ? I 
think I 've never seen you on this place." 

"Please, sir, I ; m Harry's wife." 

" Indeed ! you are, hey ? Devilish good taste he has ! " 
said he, laying his hand familiarly on her shoulder. 

The shoulder was pulled away, and Lisette moved rapidly 
on to the other side of the path, with an air of vexation which 
made her look rather prettier. 

" What, my clear, don't you know that I am your hus- 
band^ young master? Come, come!" he said, following 
her, and endeavoring to take hold of her arm. 

" Please let mo alone!" said Lisette, coloring, and in a 
petted, vexed tone. 

" Let you alone ? No, that I shan't, not while you ask it 
in such a pretty way as that ! " And again the hand was 
laid upon her shoulder. 

It must be understood that Harry had witnessed so far, 
in pantomime, this scene He had stood with compressed 
lips, and eyes slowly dilating, looking at it. Nina, who 
was standing with her back to the window, wondered at the 
expression of his countenance. 

"Look there, Miss Nina!" he said. "Do you see my 
wife and your brother ? " 

Nina turned, and in an instant the color mounted to her 
cheeks ; her little form seemed to dilate, and her eyes 
flashed fire ; and before Harry coidd see what she was doing, 


she was down in the gravel-walk, and had taken Lisette's 

" Tom Gordon," she said, " 1 7 m ashamed of you ! Hush ! 
hush ! " she continued, fixing her eyes on him, and stamp- 
ing her foot. "Dare to come to my place, and take such 
liberties here ! You shall not be allowed to while I am 
mistress ; and I am mistress ! Dare to lay a finger on this 
girl while she is here under my protection ! Come, Li- 
sette ! " And she seized the trembling girl by the hand, and 
drew her along towards the house. 

Tom Gordon was so utterly confused at this sudden burst 
of passion in his sister, that he let them go off without oppo- 
sition. In a few moments he looked after her, and gave a 
long, low whistle. 

" Ah ! Pretty well up for her ! But she '11 find it 's easier 
said than clone, I fancy ! " And he sauntered up to the 
veranda, where Harry stood with his arms folded, and the 
veins in his forehead swelling with repressed emotion. 

"Go in, Lisette," said Nina ; " take the things into my 
room, and I '11 come to you." 

" 'Pon my word, Harry," said Tom, coming up, and 
addressing Harry in the most insulting tone, " we are all 
under the greatest obligations to you for bringing such a 
pretty little fancy article here ! " 

" My wife does not belong to this place," said Harry, 
forcing himself to speak calmly. " She belongs to a Mrs. 
Le Clere, who has come into Belleville plantation." 

" Ah ! thank you for the information ! I may take a fancy 
to buy her, and I 'd like to know who she belongs to. I 've 
been wanting a pretty little concern of that sort. She 's a 
good housekeeper, is n't she, Harry ? Does up shirts well ? 
What do you suppose she could be got for ? I must go and 
see her mistress." 

Daring this cruel harangue Harry's hands twitched and 

quivered, and he started every now and then, looking first 

at Nina, and then at his tormentor. He turned deadly 

pale ; even his lips were of ashy whiteness ; and, with his 



arms still folded, and making no reply, lie fixed his large 
blue eyes upon Tom, and, as it sometimes happened in mo- 
ments of excitement and elevation, there appeared on the 
rigid lines of his face, at that moment, so strong a resem- 
blance to Col. Gordon, that Nina noticed and was startled 
by it. Tom Gordon noticed it also. It added fuel to the 
bitterness of his wrath ; and there glared from his eyes a 
malignancy of hatred that was perfectly appalling. The 
two brothers seemed like thunder-clouds opposing each 
other, and ready to dart lightning. Nina hastened to inter- 

"Hurry, hurry, Harry ! I want that message carried. 
Do, pray, go directly ! " 

" Let me see," said Tom, " I must call Jim, and have my 
horse. Which is the way to that Belleville plantation ? I 
think I '11 ride over there." And he turned and walked 
indolently down the steps. 

"For shame, Tom! you won't! you can't! How can 
you want to trouble me so ? " said Nina. 

He turned and looked upon her with an evil smile, turned 
again, and was gone. 

" Harry, Harry, go quick ! Don't you worry ; there 's 
no danger!" she addod, in a lower voice. "Madam Le 
Clere never would consent." 

" There 's no knowing ! " said Harry, " never any know- 
ing ! People, act about money as they do about nothing 

" Then — then I '11 send and buy her myself ! " said Nina. 

" You don't know how our affairs stand, Miss Nina," said 
Harry, hurriedly. " The money could n't be raised now for 
it, especially if I have to go off this week. It will make a 
great difference, my being here or not being here ; and very 
likely Master Tom may have a thousand dollars to pay down 
on the spot. I never knew him to want money when his 
will was up. Great God ! have n't I borne this yoke long 
enough ? " 

" Well, Harry," said. Nina, " I '11 sell everything I 've got 


— my jewels — everything- ! I '11 mortgage the plantation, 
before Tom Gordon shall do this thing ! I 'rn not quite so 
selfish as I 've always seemed to be. I know you 've made 
the sacrifice of body and soul to my interest ; and I 've always 
taken it, because I loved my ease, and was a spoiled child. 
But, after all, I know I 've as much energy as Tom has, 
when I am roused, and I '11 go over this very morning and 
make an offer for her. Only you be off. You can't stand 
such provocation as you get here ; and if you yield, as any 
man will do, at last, then everything and everybody will go 
against you, and I can't protect you. Trust to me. I 'in 
not so much of a child as I have seemed to be ! You '11 
find I can act for myself, and you too ! There comes Mr. 
Clayton through the shrubbery — that's right! Order two 
horses round to the door immediately, and we '11 go over 
there this morning." 

Nina gave her orders with a dignity as if she had been a 
princess, and in all his agitation Harry could not help mar- 
velling at the sudden air of womanliness which had come 
over her. 

" I could serve you,'" he said, in a low voice, " to the last 
drop of my blood ! But," he added, in a tone which made 
Nina tremble, " I hate everybody else ! I hate your coun- 
try ! I hate your laws ! " 

"Harry," said Nina, "you do wrong — you forget your- 

" 0, I do wrong, do I ? We are the people that are never 
to do wrong ! People may stick pins in us, and stick 
knives in us, wipe their shoes on us, spit in our face — we 
must be amiable ! we must be models of Christian patience ! 
I tell you, your father should rather have put me into quar- 
ters and made me work like a field-negro, than to have given 
me the education he did, and leave me under the foot of 
every white man that dares tread on me ! " 

Nina remembered to have seen her father in transports of 
passion, and was again shocked and startled to see the 


resemblance between his face and the convulsed face before 

"Harry," she said, in a pitying-, half-admonitory tone, 
" do think what you are saying ! If you love me, be 
quiet ! " 

"Love you? You have always held my heart in your 
hand ! That has been the clasp upon my chain ! If it 
had n't been for you, I should have fought my way to the 
north before now, or I would have found a grave on the 
road ! " 

" Well, Harry/' said Nina, after a moment's thought, 
" my love shall not be a clasp upon any chain ; for, as there 
is a God in heaven, I will set you free ! I '11 have a bill 
introduced at the very next legislature, and I know what 
friend will see to it. So go, now, Harry, go ! " 

Harry stood a moment, then suddenly raised the hand of 
his little mistress to his lips, turned, and was gone. 

Clayton, who had been passing through the shrubbery, 
and who had remarked that Nina was engaged in a very 
exciting conversation, had drawn off, and stood waiting for 
her at the foot of the veranda steps. As soon as Nina saw 
him, she reached out her hand frankly, saying, 

" 0, there, Mr. Clayton, you are just the person ! 
Would n't you like to take a ride with me ? " 

" Of course I should," said he. 

"Wait here a moment," said she, "till I get ready. The 
horses will be here immediately." And, running up the 
steps, she passed quickly by him, and went into the house. 

Clayton had felt himself in circumstances of considerable 
embarrassment ever since the arrival of Tom Gordon, the 
evening before. He had perceived that the young man had 
conceived an instinctive dislike of himself, which he was at 
no particular pains to conceal ; and he had found it difficult 
to preserve the appearance of one who does not notice. He 
did not wish to intrude upon Nina any embarrassing recog- 
nition of her situation, even under the guise of sympathy 
and assistance ; and waited, therefore, till some word from 


her should authorize him to speak. He held himself, there- 
fore, ready to meet any confidence which she might feel dis- 
posed to place in him ; not doubting, from the frankness of 
her nature, that she would soon find it impossible not to 
speak of what was so deeply interesting to her. 

Nina soon reappeared, and, mounting their horses, they 
found themselves riding through the same forest-road that 
led to the cottage of Tiff, from which a divergent path went 
to the Belleville plantation. 

"I'm glad to see you alone this morning, for many 
reasons," said Nina ; " for I think I never needed a friend's 
help more. I 'm mortified that you should have seen what 
you did last night ; but, since you have, I may as well 
speak of it. The fact is, that my brother, though he 
is the only one I have, never did treat me as if he loved 
me. I can't tell what the reason is : whether he was jeal- 
ous of my poor father's love for me, or whether it was be- 
cause I was a wilful, spoiled girl, and so gave him reason 
to be set against me, or whatever the reason might be, — he 
never has been kind to me long at a time. Perhaps he 
would be, if I would always do exactly as he says ; but I 
am made as positive and wilful as he is. I never have been 
controlled, and I can't recognize the right which he seems to 
assume to control me, and to dictate as to my own private 
affairs. He was not left my guardian ; and, though I do 
love him, I shan't certainly take him as one. Now, you see, 
he has a bitter hatred, and a most unreasonable one, towards 
my Harry ; and I had no idea, when I came home, in how 
many ways he had the power to annoy me. It does seem 
as if an evil spirit possessed them both when they get to- 
gether ; they seem as full of electricity as they can be, and 
I am every instant. afraid of an explosion. Unfortunately 
for Harry, he has had a much superior education to the gen- 
erality of his class and station, and the situation of .trust in 
which he has been placed has given him more the feelings 
of a free man and a gentleman than is usual ; for, except 
Tom, there is n't one of our family circle that has n't always 


treated him with, kindness, and even with deference — and 
I think this very thing angers Tom the more, and makes him 
take every possible occasion of provoking and vexing. I 
believe it is his intention to push Harry up to some des- 
perate action ; and, when I see how frightfully they look at 
each other, I tremble for the consequences. Harry has 
lately married a very pretty wife, with whom he lives in a 
little cottage on the extremity of the Belleville estate ; and 
this morning Tom happened to spy her, and it seemed to 
inspire him with a most ingenious plan to trouble Harry. 
He threatened to come over and buy her of Madam Le 
Clere ; and so, to quiet Harry, I promised to come over here 
before him, and make an offer for her." 

" Why," said Clayton, " do you think her mistress would 
sell her ? "' 

" I can't say," said Nina. " She is a person I am ac- 
quainted with only by report. She is a New Orleans Creole, 
who has lately bought the place. Lisette, I believe, hires 
her time of her. Lisette is an ingenious, active creature, 
and contrives, by many little arts and accomplishments, to 
pay a handsome sum, monthly, to her mistress. Whether 
the offer of a large sum at once would tempt her to sell 
her, is more than I know until it 's tried. I should like to 
have Lisette, for Harry's sake." 

" And do you suppose your brother was really serious ? " 

" I should n't be at all surprised if he were. But, serious 
or not serious, I intend to make the matter sure." 

" If it be necessary to make an immediate payment," said 
Clayton, " I have a sum of money which is lying idle in the 
bank, and it 's but drawing a check which will be honored 
at sight. I mention this, because the ability to make an 
immediate payment may make the negotiation easier. You 
ought to allow me the pleasure of joining you in a good 

" Thank you," said Nina, frankly. " It may not be 
necessary ; but, if it should be, I will take it in the same 
spirit in which it is offered." 


After a ride of about an hour, they arrived in the bound- 
aries of Belleville plantation. 

In former days, Nina had known this as the residence of 
an ancient rich family, with whom her father was on visiting 
terms. She was therefore- uncomfortably struck with the 
air of poverty, waste, and decay, everywhere conspicuous 
through the grounds. 

Nothing is more depressing and disheartening than the 
sight of a gradual decay of what has been arranged and 
constructed with great care ; and when Nina saw the 
dilapidated gateway, the crushed and broken shrubbery, 
the gaps in the fine avenue where trees had been improvi- 
dently cut down for fire-wood, she could not help a feeling 
of depression. 

" How different this place used to be when I came here 
as a child ! " said she. " This madam, whatever her name 
is, can't be much of a manager." 

As she said this, their horses came up the front of the 
house, in which the same marks of slovenly neglect were 
apparent. Blinds were hanging by one hinge ; the door 
had sunk down into the rotten sill ; the wooden pillars that 
supported it were decayed at the bottom ; and the twin- 
ing roses which once climbed upon them laid trailing, dis- 
honored, upon the ground. The veranda was littered with 
all kinds of rubbish, — rough boxes, saddles, bridles, over- 
coats ; and various nondescript articles formed convenient 
hiding-places and retreats, in which a troop of negro chil- 
dren and three or four dogs were playing at hide-and-go- 
seek with great relish and noise. On the alighting of Nina 
and Clayton at the door, they all left their sports, and ar- 
ranged themselves in a grinning row, to see the new comers 
descend. Nothing seemed to be further from the minds of 
the little troop than affording the slightest assistance in the 
way of holding horses or answering questions. All they 
did was alternately to look at each other and the travellers, 
and grin. 

A tattered servant-man, with half a straw hat on his head, 


was at length raised by a call of Clayton, who took their 
horses — having first distributed a salutation of kicks and 
cuffs among the children, asking where their manners were 
that they did n't show the gentleman and lady in. And 
Nina and Clayton were now marshalled by the whole seven 
of them into an apartment on the right of the great hall. 
Everything in the room appeared in an unfinished state. 
The curtains were^half put up at the windows, and part 
tying in a confused heap on the chairs. The damp, mouldy 
paper, which hung loosely from the wall, had been torn away 
in some places, as if to prepare for repapering ; and certain 
half-opened rolls of costly wall-paper lay on the table, on 
which appeared the fragment of some ancient luncheon ; to 
wit, plates, and pieces of bread and cheese, dirty tumblers, 
and an empty bottle. It was difficult to find a chair suffi- 
ciently free from dust to sit down on. Nina sent up her 
card by one of the small fry, who, having got half-way up 
the staircase, was suddenly taken with the desire to slide 
down the banisters with it in his hand. Of course he 
dropped the card in the operation ; and the whole group 
precipitated themselves briskly on to it, all in a heap, and 
fought, tooth and nail, for the honor of carrying it up stairs. 
They were aroused, however, by the entrance of the man 
with half a hat ; who, on Nina's earnest suggestion, plunged 
into the troop, which ran, chattering and screaming like so 
many crows, to different parts of the hall, while he picked 
up the card, and, with infinite good-will beaming on his 
shining black face, went up with it, leaving Nina and Clay- 
ton waiting below. In a few moments he returned. 
" Missis will see de young lady up stairs." 
Nina tripped promptly after him, and left Clayton the sole 
tenant of the parlor for an hour. At length she returned, 
skipping down the stairs, and opening the door with great 

" The thing is done ! " she said. " The bill of sale will 
be signed as soon as we can send it over." 


" I had better bring it over myself/' said Clayton, "and 
make the arrangement." 

" So be it ! " said Nina. " But pray let us be delivered 
from this place ! Did you ever see such a desolate-looking 
house ? I remember when I 've seen it a perfect paradise — 
full of the most agreeable people." 

" And pray what sort of a person did you find ? " said 
Clayton, as they were riding homeward. 

" Well," said Nina, "she's one of the tow-string order 
of women. Very slack-twisted, too, I fancy — -tall, snufiy, 
and sallow. Clothes looked rough-dry, as if they had been 
pulled out of a bag. She had a bright-colored Madras 
handkerchief tied round her head, and spoke French a lit- 
tle more through her nose than French people usually do. 
Flourished a yellow silk pocket-handkerchief. Poor soul ! 
She said she had been sick for a week with tooth-ache, and 
kept awake all night ! So, one must n't be critical ! One 
comfort about these French people is, that they are always 
' ravis de vous voir,' let what will turn up. The good soul 
was really polite, and insisted on clearing all the things off 
from a dusty old chair for me to sit down in. The room was 
as much at sixes and sevens as the rest of the house. She 
apologized for the whole state of things by saying that they 
could not get workmen out there to do anything for her ; 
and so everything is left in the second future tense ; and 
the darkeys, I imagine, have a general glorification in the 
chaos. She is one of the indulgent sort, and I suspect 
she '11 be eaten up by them like the locusts. Poor thing ! 
she is shockingly home-sick, and longing for Louisiana, 
again. For, notwithstanding her snuffy appearance, and 
yellow pocket-handkerchief, she really has a genuine taste 
for beauty ; and spoke most feelingly of the oleanders, crape 
myrtles, and cape jessamines, of her native state." 

" Well, how did you introduce your business ? " said Clay- 
ton, laughing at this description. 

" Me? — Why, I flourished out the little French I have 
at command, and she flourished her little English ; and I 


think I rather prepossessed the good soul, to begin with. 
Then I made a sentimental story about Lisette and Harry's 
amours ; because I know French people always have a 
taste for the sentimental. The old thing was really quite 
affected — wiped her little black eyes, pulled her hooked 
nose as a tribute to my eloquence, called Lisette her ' enfant 
mignon,' and gave me a little lecture on the tender passion, 
which I am going to lay up for future use." 

" Indeed ! " said Clayton. " I should be charmed to have 
you repeat it. Can't you give us a synopsis ? " 

" I don't know what synopsis means. But, if you want 
me to tell you what she said, I shan't do it. Well, now, do 
you know I am in the best spirits in the world, now that 
I 've got this thing off my mind, and out of that desolate 
house ? Did you ever see such a direful place ? What is 
the reason, when we get down south, here, everything 
seems to be going to destruction, so ? I noticed it all the 
way down through Virginia. It seems as if everything had 
stopped growing,' and was going backwards. Well, now, 
it 's so different at the north ! I went up, one vacation, into 
New Hampshire. It's a dreadfully poor, barren country; 
nothing but stony hills, and poor soil. And yet the people 
there seem to be so well off! They live in such nice, tight, 
clean-looking white houses ! Everything around them looks 
so careful and comfortable ; and yet their land is n't half 
so good as ours, down here. Why, actually, some of those 
places seem as if there were nothing but rock ! And, then, 
they have winter about nine months in the year, I do believe ! 
But these Yankees turn everything to account. If a man's 
field is covered with rock, he '11 find some way to sell it, and 
make money out of it ; and if they freeze up all winter, they 
sell the ice, and make money out of that. They just live 
by selling their disadvantages ! " 

" And we grow poor by wasting our advantages," said 

" Do you know," said Nina, "people think it's a dread- 
ful thing to be an abolitionist ? But, for my part, I 've a 


great inclination to be one. Perhaps because I have a con- 
trary turn, and always have a little spite against what 
everybody else believes. But, if you won't tell anybody, 
I '11 tell you — I don't believe in slavery ! " 

" Nor I, either ! " said Clayton. 

" You don't ! Well, really, I thought I was saying some- 
thing original. Now, the other day, Aunt Nesbit's minister 
was at our house, and they sat crooning together, as they 
always do ; and, among other things, they said, ' What a 
blessed institution it was to bring these poor Africans over 
here to get them Christianized ! ' So, by way of saying 
something to give them a start, I told them I thought they 
came nearer to making heathen of us than we to making 
Christians of them." 

" That 's very true," said Clayton. " There 's no doubt 
that the kind of society which is built up in this way con- 
stantly tends to run back towards barbarism. It prevents 
general education of the whites, and keeps the poorer 
classes down to the lowest point, while it enriches a few." 

"Well, what do we have it for?" said Nina. "Why 
don't we blow it up, right off? " 

"That's a question easier asked than answered. The 
laws against emancipation are very stringent. But I think 
it is every owner's business to contemplate this as a future 
resort, and to educate his servants in reference to it. That 
is what I am trying to do on my plantation." 

" Indeed ! " said Nina, looking at him with a good deal 
of interest. " Well, now, that reminds me of what I was 
going to say to you. Generally speaking, my conscience 
don't trouble me much about my servants, because I think 
they are doing about as well with me as they would be 
likely to do anywhere else. But, now, there 's Harry ! He 
is well-educated, and I know that he could do for himself, 
anywhere, better than he does here. I have always had a 
kind of sense of this ; but I 've thought of it more lately, and 
I 'm going to try to have him set free at the next legislature. 


And I shall want you to help mo about all the what-do-you- 

" Of course, I shall be quite at your service," said Clay- 

"There used to be some people, when I was up at the 
north, who talked as if all of us were no better than a pack 
of robbers and thieves. And, of course, when I was there I 
was strong for our institutions, and would not give them an 
inch of ground. It set me to thinking, though ; and the 
result of my thinking is, that we have no right to hold those 
to work fur us who clearly can do better. Now, there 's 
Aunt Nesbit's Milly — there's Harry and Lisette. Why, 
it 's clear enough, if they can support themselves and us 
too, they certainly can support themselves alone. Lisette 
has paid eight dollars a month to her mistress, and sup- 
ported herself besides. I 'in sure it 's we that are the help- 
less ones ! " 

" Well, do you think your Aunt Nesbit is going to follow 
your example ? " 

" No ! catch her at it ! Aunt Nesbit is doubly fortified 
in her religion. She is so satisfied with something or other 
about 'cursed be Canaan,' that she'd let Milly earn ten 
dollars a month for her, all the year round, and never 
trouble her head about taking every bit of it. Some folks, 
you know, have a way of calling everything they want to 
do a dispensation of providence ! Now, Aunt Nesbit is one 
of 'em. She always calls it a dispensation that the negroes 
were brought over here, and a dispensation that we are the 
mistresses. Ah ! Milly will not get free while Aunt Nesbit 
is alive ! And do you know, though it does not seem 
very generous in me, yet I 'm resigned to it, because Milly 
is such a good soul, and such a comfort to me ? — do you 
know she seems a great deal more like a mother to me 
than Aunt Nesbit? Why, I really think, if Milly had 
been educated as we are, she would have made a most 
splendid woman — been a perfect Candace queen of Ethio- 
pia. There 's a vast deal that is curious and interesting in 


■some of these old Africans. I always did love to be. with 
them ; some of them are so shrewd and original ! But, I 
wonder, now, what Tom will think of my cutting' him out 
so neatly ? 'T will make him angry, I suppose." 

" 0, perhaps, after all, he had do real intention of doing 
anything of the kind," said Clayton, "He may have said 
it merely for bravado." 

"I should have thought so, if I hadn't known that he 
always had a grudge against Harry." 

At this moment the galloping of a horse was heard in the 
woodland path before them ; and very soon Tom Gordon 
appeared in sight, accompanied by another man, on horse 
back, with whom he was in earnest conversation. There 
was something about the face of this man which, at the first 
glance, Nina felt to be very repulsive. He was low, thick- 
set, and yet lean ; his features were thin and sharp ; his 
hair and eyebrows bushy and black, and a pair of glassy, 
pale-blue eyes formed a peculiar contrast to their darkness. 
There was something in the expression of the eye which 
struck Nina as hard and cold. Though the man was 
habited externally as a gentleman, there was still about him 
an under-bred appearance, which could be detected at the 
first glance, as the coarseness of some woods will reveal 
themselves through every varnish. 

" Good-morrow, Nina," said her brother, drawing his horse 
up to meet hers, and signing to his companion to arrest his, 
also. " Allow me to present to you my friend Mr. Jekyl. 
We are going out to visit the Belleville plantation." 

" I wish you a pleasant ride ! " said Nina. And, touch- 
ing her horse, she passed them 'n a moment. 

Looking back almost fiercely, a moment, she turned and 
said to Clayton : 

"I hate that man !" 

" Who is it ? " said Clayton. 

" I don't know ! " said Nina. " I never saw him before. 
But I hate him ! He is a bad man ! I 'd as soon have a 
serpent come near me, as that man ! " 


" Well, the poor fellow's face isn't prepossessing," said 
Clayton. "But I should not be prepared for such an 

" Tom's badness," continued Nina, speaking as if she 
were following out a train of thought without regarding her 
companion's remark, "is good turned to bad. It's wine 
turned to vinegar. But this man don't even know what 
good is ! " 

" IIoav can you be so positive about a person that you've 
only seen once ? " said Clayton. 

" 0,'' said Nina, resuming her usual gay tones, " don't 
you know that girls and dogs, and other inferior creatures, 
have the gift of seeing what 's in people ? It does n't 
belong to highly-cultivated folks, like you, but to us poor 
creatures, who have to trust to our instincts. So, beware ! " 
And, as she spoke, she turned to him with a fascinating air 
of half-saucy defiance. 

"Well," said Clayton, "have you seen, then, what is 
in me ? " 

" Yes, to be sure ! " said Nina, with energy ; "I knew 
what you were the very first time I saw you. And that 's 
the reason why — " 

Clayton made an eager gesture, and his eye met hers with 
a sudden flash of earnestness. She stopped, and blushed, 
and then laughed. 

"What, Nina?" 

" 0, well, I always thought you were a grandfatherly 
body, and that you wouldn't take advantage of 'us girls/ 
as some of the men do. And so I've treated you with 
confidence, as you know. I had just the same feeling 
that you could be trusted, as I have that that other fellow 
cannot ! " 

" Well," said Clayton, "that deduction suits me so well 
that I should be sorry to undermine your faith. Neverthe- 
less, I must say such a way of judging is n't always safe. 
Instinct may be a greater matter than we think ; yet it 
is n't infallible, any more than our senses. We try the tes- 


tirnoxiy even of our eyesight by reason. It will deceive us, 
if we don't. Much more we ought to try this more subtle 
kind of sight." 

" May be so/' said Nina ; "yet, I don't think I shall like 
that man, after all. But I '11 give him a chance to alter my 
feeling, by treating him civilly if Tom brings him back to 
dinner. That's th<"> best I can do." 



On entering the house, Nina was met at the door by 
Milly, with a countenance of some anxiety. 

" Miss Nina/ 7 she said, " your aunt has heard bad news, 
this morning." 

" Bad news ! " said Nina, quickly, — "what ? " 

" Well, honey, ye see dere has been a lawyer here," said 
Milly, following Nina as she was going up stairs; "and 
she has been shut up with him all de mornin' ; and when he 
come out I found her taking on quite dreadful ! And she 
says she has lost all her property." 

"0! is that all?" said Nina. "I didn't know what 
dreadful thing might have happened. Why, Milly, this 
is n't so very bad. She hadn't much to lose." 

" 0, bless you, chile ! nobody wants to lose all they got, 
much or little ! " 

" Yes ; but," said Nina, " you know she can always live 
here with us ; and what little money she wants to fuss with, 
to buy new caps, and paregoric for her cough, and all such 
little matters, we can give her, easily enough." 

" Ah, Miss Nina, your heart is free enough ; you'd give 
away both ends of the rainbow, if you had 'em to give. 
But the trouble is, chile, you have n't got 'em. Why, 
chile, dis yer great place, and so many mouths opened to 
eat and eat, chile, I tell you it takes heaps to keep it 
a going. And Harry, I tell you, finds it hard work to bring 
it even all the year round, though he never says nothing to 
you about his troubles, — wants you always to walk on 


flowers, with both hands full, and never think where they 
come from. I tell you what, chile, we 's boun' to think for 
you a little ; and I tell you what, I ? s jist a going- to hire 

" Why, Milly, how ridiculous ! " 

"It an't ridiculous, now. Why, just look on it, Miss 
Nina. Here's Miss Loo, dat 7 s one; here's me, dat's 
two; here's Polly, — great grown girl, — three; dere 's 
Tomtit, four ; all on us, eating your bread, and not bringing 
in a cent to you, 'cause all on us together an't done much 
more than wait on Miss Loo. Why, you 's got servants 
enough of your own to do every turn that wants doing in 
dis yer house. I know, Miss Xina, young ladies don't like 
to hear about dese things ; but the fac' is, victuals cost 
something-, and dere must be some on us to bring in some- 
thing. Now, dat ar gentleman what talked with your 
aunt, he said he could find me a right good place up dar to 
the town, and I was just a going. Sally, she is big enough 
now to do everything that I have been used to doing for 
Miss Loo, and I am jest a going ; besides, to tell you the 
truth, I think Miss Loo has kind o' set her heart upon it. 
You know she is a weakly kind of thing, — don't know how 
to do much 'cept sit in her chair and groan. She has 
always been so used to having me make a way for her ; and 
when I told her about dis yer, she kind o' brightened 

" But, Milly, what shall I do ? I can't spare you at ail," 
said Nina. 

•' Law bless you, chile ! don't you suppose I 's got eyes ? 
I tell you, Miss Xina, I looked that g m'leman over pretty 
well for you, and my opinion is he 'U do.' 

" 0, come, you hush ! " said Xina. 

"You see, chile, it wouldn't be everybody that our 
people would be willing to have come on to the place, here ; 
but there an't one of 'em that would n't go in for dis yer, 
now I tell you. Dere 's Old Hundred, as you calls him, 
told me 'twas just as good as a meeting to hear him read- 


ing the prayers dat ar day at de funeral. Now, you see, 
I 's seen gen'lenien handsome, and rich, and right pleas- 
ant, too, dat de people would n't want at all ; 'cause why ? 
dey has dere frolics and drinks, and de money flies one 
way for dis ting and one way for dat, till by and by it 's 
all gone. Den comes de sheriff, and de people is all 
sold, some one way and some another way. Now, Mr. 
Clayton, he an't none of dem." 

" But, Milly, all this may be very well ; but if I couldn't 
love him ? " 

"Law sakes, Miss Nina ! You look me in the face and 
tell me dat ar? Why, chile, it's plain enough to see- 
through you. 'T is so ! The people's all pretty sure, by 
this time. Sakes alive, we 7 s used to looking out for the 
weather ; and we knows pretty well what 's coming. And 
now, Miss Nina, you go right along and give him a good 
word, 'cause you see, dear lamb, you need a good husband 
to take care of you, — dat 's what you want, chile. ■ Girls 
like you has a hard life being at the head of a place, espe- 
cially your brother being just what he is. Now, if you had 
a husband here, Mas'r Tom 'ud be quiet, 'cause he knows 
he could n't do nothing. But just as long as you 's alone 
he '11 plague you. But, now, chile, it 's time for you to 
be getting ready for dinner." 

"0, but, do you know, Milly," said Nina, "I've some- 
thing to tell you, which I had liked to have forgotten ! I 
have been out to the Belleville plantation, and bought 
Har y's wife." 

' ' You has, Miss Nina ! Why, de Lord bless you! Why, 
Harry was dreadful worked, dis yer morning, 'bout what 
Mas'r Tom said. 'Feared like he was most crazy." 

" Well," said Nina, " I 'v. done it. I 've got the receipt 

" Why, but, chile, where alive did you get all the money 
to pay down right sudden so ? " 

"Mr. Clayton lent it to me," said Nina. 

"Mr. Clayton! Now, chile, did n't I tell you so ? Do 


you suppose, now, you M a let him lend you dat ar money 
if you hadn't liked him ? But, come, chile, hurry ! Dere 7 s 
Mas'r Tom and dat other gen'leman coming back, and you 
must be down to dinner." 

The company assembled at the dinner-table was not 
particularly enlivening. Tom Gordon, who, in the course 
of his morning ride, had discovered the march which his 
sister had stolen upon him, was more sulky and irritable 
than usual, though too proud to make any allusion to the 
subject. Nina was annoyed by the presence of Mr. Jekyl, 
whom her brother insisted should remain to dinner. Aunt 
Nesbit was uncommonly doleful, of course. Clayton, who, 
in mixed society, generally took the part of a listener 
rather than a talker, said very little ; and had it not been 
for Carson, there 's no saying whether any of the company 
could have spoken. Every kind of creature has its uses, 
and there are times when a lively, unthinking chatterbox is 
a perfect godsend. Those unperceiving people, who never 
notice the embarrassment of others, and who walk with the 
greatest facility into the gaps of conversation, simply 
because they have no perception of any difficulty there, 
have their hour ; and Nina felt positively grateful to Mr. 
Carson for the continuous and cheerful rattle which had so 
annoyed her the day before. Carson drove a brisk talk 
with the lawyer about the value of property, percentage, 
etc. ; he sympathized with Aunt Nesbit on her last-caught 
cold ; rallied Tom on his preoccupation ; complimented Nina 
on her improved color from her ride ; and seemed on such 
excellent terms both with himself and everybody else, that 
the thing was really infectious. 

" What do you call your best investments, down here, — 
land, eh ? " he said to Mr. Jekyl. 

Mr. Jekyl shook his head. 

" Land deteriorates too fast. Besides, there 's all the 
trouble and risk of overseers, and all that. I we looked this 
thing over pretty well, and I always invest in niggers." 

" Ah ! " said Mr. Carson, " you do ? " 

192 . aunt nesbit's loss. 

"Yes, sir, I invest in niggers; that's what I do; and 
I hire them out, sir, — hire them out. Why, sir, if a man 
has a knowledge of human nature, knows where to buy and 
when to buy, and watches his opportunity, he gets a better 
percentage on his money that way than any other. Now, that 
was what I was telling Mrs. Nesbit, this morning. Say, 
now, that you give one thousand dollars for a man, — and 
I always buy the best sort, that 's economy, — well, and 
he gets — put it at the lowest figure — ten dollars a 
month wages, and his living. Well, you see there, that 
gives you a pretty handsome sum for your money. I have 
a good talent of buying. I generally prefer mechanics. I 
have got now working forme three bricklayers. I own two 
first-rate carpenters, and last month I bought a perfect 
jewel of a blacksmith. He is an uncommonly ingenious 
man ; a fellow that will make, easy, his fifteen dollars a 
month ; and he is the more valuable because he has been 
religiously brought up. Why, some of them, now, will cheat 
you, if they can ; but this fellow has been brought up in a 
district where they have a missionary, and a great deal of 
pains has been taken to form his religious principles. 
Now, this fellow would no more think of touching a cent 
of his earnings than he would of stealing right out of my 
pocket. I tell people about him, sometimes, when I find 
them opposed to religious instruction. I tell them, ' See 
there, now — you see how godliness is profitable to the life 
that now is.' You know the Scriptures, Mrs. Nesbit ? " 

"Yes," said Aunt Nesbit, "I always believed in reli- 
gious education." 

" Confound it all ! " said Tom, " I don't I I don't see the 
use of making a set of hypocritical sneaks of them! I'd 
make niggers bring me my money ; but, hang it all, if he 
came snuffling to me, pretending 't was his duty, I 'd choke 
him ! They never think so, —they don't, and they can't, 
■ — and it 's all hypocrisy, this religious instruction, as you 
call it!" 

"No, it isn't," said the undiscouraged Mr. Jekyl, "not 


when you found it on right principles. Take them early 
enough, and work them right, you '11 get it ground into 
them. Now, when they begun religious instruction, there 
was a great prejudice against it in our part of the country. 
You see they were afraid that the niggers would get uppish. 
Ah, but you see the missionaries are pretty careful ; they 
put it in strong in the catechisms about the rights of the 
master. You see the instruction is just grounded on this, 
that the master stands in God's place to them." 

" D— d bosh ! " said Tom Gordon. 

Aunt Nesbit looked across the table as if she were going 
to faint. But Mr. Jekyl's composure was not in the 
slightest degree interrupted. 

"I can tell you," he said, " that, in a business, practical 
view, — for I am used to investments, — that, since the pub- 
lishing of those catechisms, and the missionaries' work 
among the niggers, the value of that kind of property has 
risen ten per cent. They are better contented. They don't 
run away, as they used to. Just that simple idea that their 
master stands in God's place to them. Why, you see, it 
cuts its way." 

" I have a radical objection to all that kind of instruc- 
tion," said Clayton. 

Aunt Nesbit opened her eyes, as if she could hardly 
believe her hearing. 

"And pray what is your objection?" said Mr. Jekyl, 
with an unmoved countenance. 

" My objection is that it is all a lie/' said Clayton, in such 
a positive tone that everybody looked at him with a start. 

Clayton was one of those silent men who are seldom 
roused to talk, but who go with a rush when they are. Not 
seeming to notice the startled looks of the company, he 
went on : " It 's a worse lie, because it 's told to bewilder a 
simple, ignorant, confiding creature. I never could con- 
ceive how a decent man could ever look another man in the 
face and say such things. I remember reading, in one of 
the missionary reports, that when this doctrine was first 


propounded in an assembly of negroes somewhere, all the 
most intelligent of them got up and walked deliberately out 
of the house ; and I honor them for it." 

" Good for them ! " said Tom Gordon. "I can keep my 
niggers down without any such stuff as that ! " 

" I have no doubt/' said Clayton, "that these mission- 
aries are well-intending, good men, and that they actually 
think the only way to get access to the negroes at all is, 
to be very positive in what will please the masters. But 
I think they fall into the same error that the Jesuits did 
when they adulterated Christianity with idolatry in order to 
get admission in Japan. A lie never works well in religion, 
nor in morals." 

" That's what I believe," said Nina, warmly. 

" But, then, if you can't teach them this, what can you 
teach them ? " said Mr. Jekyl. 

" Confound it all ! " said Tom Gordon, "teach them that 
you 've got the power ! — teach them the weight of your fist ! 
That's enough for them. I am bad enough, I know ; but 
I can't bear hypocrisy. I show a fellow my pistol. I say 
to him, You see that, sir ! I tell him, You do so and so, and 
you shall have a good time with me. But, you do that, and 
I '11 thrash you within an inch of your life ! That's my short 
method with niggers, and poor whites, too. When one of 
these canting fellows comes round to my plantation, let him 
see what he '11 get, that 's all ! " 

Mr. Jekyl appeared properly shocked at this declaration. 
Aunt Nesbit looked as if it was just what she had expected, 
and went on eating her potato with a mournful air, as if 
nothing could surprise her. Nina looked excessively an- 
noyed, and turned a sort of appealing glance upon Clayton. 

"For my part," said Clayton, "I base my religious in- 
struction to my people on the ground that every man and 
every woman must give an account of themselves to God 
alone ; and that God is to be obeyed first, and before 

"Why," said Mr. Jekyl, "that would be destructive 


of all discipline. If you are going to allow every fellow 
to judge for himself, among a parcel of ignorant, selfish 
wretches, what the will of God is, one will think it's one 
thing, another will think it ; s another ; and there will be an 
end of all order. It would be absolutely impossible to 
govern a place in that way." 

" They must not be left an ignorant set," said Clayton. 
" They must be taught to read the Scriptures for them- 
selves, and be able to see that my authority accords with 
it. If I command anything contrary to it, they ought to 
oppose it ! " 

" Ah ! I should like to see a plantation managed in that 
way ! " said Tom Gordon, scornfully. 

" Please God, you shall see such an one, if you '11 come to 
mine," said Clayton, " where I should be very happy to 
see you, sir." 

The tone in which this was said was so frank and sin- 
cere, that Tom was silenced, and could not help a rather 
sullen acknowledgment. 

"I think," said Mr. Jekyl, "that you'll find such a 
course, however well it may work at first, will fail at last. 
You begin to let people think, and they won't stop where 
you want them to ; they '11 go too far ; it 's human nature. 
The more you give, the more you may give. You once get 
your fellows to thinking, and asking all sorts of questions, 
and they get discontented at once. I 've seen that thing 
tried in one or two instances, and it did n't turn out well. 
Fellows got restless and discontented. The more was 
given to them, the more dissatisfied they grew, till finally 
they put for the free states." 

" Very well," said Clayton ; "if that's to be the result, 
they may all 'put' as soon as they can get ready. If my 
title to them won't bear an intelligent investigation, I don't 
wish to keep them. But I never will consent to keep them 
by making false, statements to them in the name of religion, 
and presuming to put myself as an object of obedience 
before my Maker." 

196 aunt nesbit's loss. 

" I think/' said Mr. Carson, "Mr. Clayton shows an ex- 
cellent spirit — excellent spirit! On my word, I think so. 
I wish some of our northern agitators, who make such a 
fuss on the subject, could hear him. I 'm always disgusted 
with these abolitionists producing such an unpleasantness 
between the north and the south, interrupting trade, and 
friendship, and all that sort of thing." 

" He shows an excellent spirit, 7 ' said Mr. Jekyl ; "but 
I must think he is mistaken, if he thinks that he can bring 
up people in that way, under our institutions, and not do 
them more harm than good. It 's a notorious fact that 
the worst insurrections have arisen from the reading of the 
Bible by these ignorant fellows. That was the case with 
Nat Turner, in Virginia. That was the case with Denmark 
Vesey, and his crew, in South Carolina. I tell you, sir, it 
will never do, this turning out a set of ignorant people to 
pasture in the Bible ! That blessed book is a savor of life 
unto life when it's used right; but it's a savor of death 
unto death when ignorant people take hold of it. The 
proper way is this : administer such portions only as these 
creatures are capable of understanding. This admirable 
system of religious instruction keeps the matter in our own 
hands, by allowing us to select for them such portions of 
the word as are best fitted to keep them quiet, dutiful, and 
obedient ; and I venture to predict that whoever under- 
takes to manage a plantation on any other system will 
soon find it getting out of his hands." 

" So you are afraid to trust the Lord's word without 
holding the bridle!" said Tom, with a sneer. "That's 
pretty well for you ! " 

" / am not ! " said Clayton. " I 'm willing to resign any 
rights to any one that I am not able to defend in God's 
word — any that I cannot make apparent to any man's 
cultivated reason. I scorn the idea that I must dwarf a 
man's mind, and keep him ignorant and childish, in order 
to make him believe any lie I choose to tell him about my 
rights over him ! I intend to have an educated, intelligent 


people, who shall submit to me because they think it clearly 
for their best interests to do so ; because they shall feel 
that what I command is right in the sight of God." 

" It 's my opinion," said Tom, " that both these ways of 
managing are humbugs. One way makes hypocrites, and 
the other makes rebels. The best way of educating is, to 
show folks that they can't help themselves. All the fussing 
and arguing in the world is n't worth one dose of certainty 
on that point. Just let them know that there are no two 
ways about it, and you '11 have all still enough." 

From this point the conversation was pursued with con- 
siderable warmth, till Nina and Aunt Nesbit rose and retired 
to the drawing-room. Perhaps it did not materially discour- 
age Clayton, in the position he had taken, that Nina, with the 
frankness usual to her, expressed the most eager and undis- 
guised admiration of all that he said. 

"Didn't he talk beautifully? Wasn't it noble?" she 
said to Aunt Nesbit, as she came in the drawing-room. 
" And that hateful Jekyl ! is n't he mean ? " 

"Child!" said Aunt Nesbit, "I'm surprised to hear 
you speak so ! Mr. Jekyl is a very respectable lawyei", an 
elder in the church, and a very pious man. He has given 
me some most excellent advice about my affairs ; and he is 
going to take Milly with him, and find her a good place. 
He 's been making some investigations, Nina, and he 's 
going to talk to you about them, after dinner. He 's dis- 
covered that there 's an estate in Mississippi worth a hundred 
thousand dollars, that ought property to come to you ! " 

" I don't believe a word of it ! " said Nina. " Don't like 
the man ! — think he is hateful ! — don't want to hear any- 
thing he has to say ! — don't believe in him ! " 

" Nina, how often I have warned you against such sud- 
den prejudices — against such a good man, too ! " 

" You won't make me believe he is good, not if he were 
elder in twenty churches ! " 

" Well, but, child, at any rate you must listen to what 
he has got to say. Your brother will be very angry if you 

198 aunt nesbit's loss. 

don't ; and it 's really very important. At any rate, you 
ought not to offend Tom, when you can help it." 

"That's true enough," said Nina ; "and I '11 hear, and 
try and behave as well as I can. I hope the man will go, 
some time or other ! I don't know why, hut his talk makes 
me feel worse than Tom's swearing ! That 's certain." 

Aunt Nesbit looked at Nina as if she considered her in a 
most hopeless condition. 



After the return of the gentlemen- to the drawing-room, 
Nina, at the request of Tom, followed him and Mr. Jekyl 
into the library. 

" Mr. Jekyl is going to make some statements to us, 
Nina, about our property in Mississippi, which, if they turn 
out as he expects, will set us up in the world," said Tom. 

Nina threw herself carelessly into the leathern arm-chair 
by the window, and looked out of it. 

"You see," said Mr. Jekyl, also seating himself, and 
pulling out the stiff points of his collar, " having done law 
business for your father, and known, in that way, a good 
deal about the family property, I have naturally always felt 
a good deal of interest in it ; and you remember your 
father's sister, Mrs. Stewart, inherited, on the death of her 
husband, a fine estate in Mississippi." 

" I remember," said Tom, — " well, go on." 

"Well, she died, and left it all to her son. Well, he, it 
seems, like some other young men, lived in a very repre- 
hensible union with a handsome quadroon girl, who was his 
mother's maid ; and she, being an artful creature, I suppose, 
as a great many of them are, got such an ascendency over 
him, that he took her up to Ohio, and married her, and lived 
there with her some years, and had two children by her. 
Well, you see, he had a deed of emancipation recorded for 
her in Mississippi, and, just taking her into Ohio, set her 
free by the laws of that state. Well, you see, he thought 
he 'd fixed it so that the thing could n't be undone, and she 

200 MR. jekyl's opinions. 

thought so too ; and I understand she 's a pretty shrewd 
woman — has a considerable shave of character, or else she 
would n't have done just what she has ; for, you see, he 
died about six months ago, and left the plantation and all 
the properly to her and her children, and she has been so 
secm*e that she has actually gone and taken possession. 
You see, she is so near white, you must know that there 
is n't one in twenty would think what she was, — and the 
people round there, actually, some of them, had forgotten 
all about it, and did n't know but what she was a white 
woman from Ohio ; and so, you see, the thing never would 
have been looked into at all, if I had n't happened to have 
Deen down there. But, you see, she turned off an overseer 
that had managed the place, because the people complained 
of him ; and I happened to fall in with the man, and he began 
telling me his story, and, after a little inquiry, I found who 
these people were. Well, sir, I just went to one of the first 
lawyers, for I suspected there was false play ; and we looked 
over the emancipation laws together, and we found out that, 
as the law stood, the deed of emancipation was no more than 
so much waste paper. And so, you see, she and tier chil- 
dren are just as much slaves as any on her plantation ; and 
the whole property, which is worth a hundred thousand 
dollars, belongs to your family. I rode out with him, and 
looked over the place, and got introduced to her and her 
children, and looked them over. Considered as property, I 
should call them a valuable lot. She is past forty, but she 
don't look older than twenty-seven or twenty-eight, I should 
say. She is a very good-looking woman, and then, I 'm 
told, a very capable woman. Well, her price in the market 
might range between one thousand and fifteen hundred 
dollars. Smalley said he had seen no better article sold 
for two thousand dollars; but, then, he. said, they had to 
give a false certificate as to the age, — and that I could n't 
hear of, for I never countenance anything like untruth. 
Then, the woman's children : she has got two fine-looking 
children as I have ever seen — almost white. The boy is 

MR. jekyl's opinions. 201 

about ton years old ; the little girl, about four. You may 
be sure I was pretty careful not to let on, because I con- 
sider the woman and children are an important part of the 
property, and, of course, nothing- had better be said about 
it, lest she should be off before we are ready to come clown 
on them. Now, you see, you Gordons are the proper owners 
of this whole property: there is n't the slightest doubt in 
my mind that you ought to put in your claim immediately. 
The act of emancipation was contrary to law, and, though 
the man meant well, yet it amounted to a robbery of the 
heirs. I declare, it rather raised my indignation to see that 
creature so easy in the possession of property which of right 
belongs to you. Now, if I have only the consent of the 
heirs, I can go on and commence operations immediately." 

Nina had been sitting regarding Mr. Jekyl with a fixed 
and determined expression of countenance. When he had 
finished, she said to him, 

"Mr. Jekyl, I understand you are an elder in the 
church ; is that true ? " 

" Yes, Miss Gordon, I have that privilege," said Mr. 
Jekyl, his sharp, business tone subsiding into a sigh. 

"Because," said Nina, "I am a wild young girl, and 
don't profess to know much about religion ; but I want you 
to tell me, as a Christian, if you think it would be right to 
take this woman and children, and her property." 

" Why, certainly, my dear Miss Gordon ; is n't it right 
that every one should have his own property ? I view things 
simply with the eye of the law ; and, in the eye of the law, 
that woman and her children are as much your property 
as the shoe on your foot ; there is no manner of doubt 
of it." 

"I should think," said Nina, "that you might see with 
the eye of the Gospel, sometimes ! Do you think, Mr. 
Jekyl, that doing this is doing as I should wish to be done 
by, if I were in the place of this woman ? " 

"My dear Miss Gordon, young ladies of fine feeling, at 
your time of life, are often confused on this subject by a 

202 MR. jekyl's opinions. 

wrong application of the Scripture language. Suppose I 
were a robber, and had possession of your property ? Of 
course, I shouldn't wish to be made to give it up. But 
would it follow that the golden rule obliged the lawful pos- 
sessor not to take it from me ? This woman is your prop- 
erty ; this estate is your property, and she is holding it as 
unlawfully as a robber. Of course, she won't want to give 
it up ; but right is right, notwithstanding." 

Like many other young persons, Nina could feel her way 
out of a sophistry much sooner than she could think it out ; 
and she answered to all this reasoning, 

" After all, I can't think it would be right." 

"0, confound the humbug!" said Tom, "who cares 
whether it is right or not? The fact is, Nin, to speak 
plain sense to you, you and I both are deuced hard up for 
money, and want all we can get ; and what 's the use of 
being more religious than the very saints themselves at our 
time of day ? Mr. Jekyl is a pious man — one of the tallest 
kind ! lie thinks this is all right, and why need we set 
ourselves all up ? Ho has talked with Uncle John, and he 
goes in for it. As for my part, I am free to own I don't 
care whether it 's right or not ! I '11 do it if I can. Might 
makes right, — that 's my doctrine ! " 

"Why," said Mr. Jekyl, "I have examined the subject, 
and I have n't the slightest doubt that slavery is a divinely- 
appointed institution, and that the rights of the masters 
are sanctioned by God ; so, however much I may naturally 
feel for this woman, whose position is, I must say, an un- 
fortunate one, still it is my duty to see that the law is prop- 
erly administered in the case." 

" All I have to say, Mr. Jekyl," said Nina, "is just this : 
that I won't have anything to do with this matter ; for, if I 
can't prove it 's wrong, I shall always feel it is." 

" Nina, how ridiculous ! " said Tom. 

"I have said my say," said Nina, as she rose and left 
the room. 

ME. jekyl's opinions. 203 

"Very natural, — fine feelings, but uninstructed," said 
Mr. Jekyl. 

" Certainly, we pious folks know a trick worth two of 
that, don't we?" said Tom. "I say, Jekyl, tins sister 
of mine is a pretty rapid little case, I can tell you, as you 
saw by the way she circumvented us, this morning'. She is 
cpuite capable of upsetting the whole dish, unless we go 
about it immediately. You see, her pet nigger, this Harry, 
is this woman's brother ; and if she gave him the word, 
he 'd write at once, and put her on the alarm. You and I 
had better start off to-morrow, before this Harry comes 
back. I believe he is to be gone a few days. It 's no matter 
whether she consents to the suit or not. She don't need 
to know anything about it." 

"Well," said Jekyl, "I advise you to go right on, and 
have the woman and children secured. It 's a perfectly fair, 
legal proceeding. There has been an evident evasion of 
the law of the state, by means of which your family are 
defrauded of an immense sum. At all events, it will be 
tried in an open court of justice, and she will be allowed to 
appear by her counsel. It 's a perfectly plain, above-board 
proceeding ; and, as the young lady has shown such fine 
feelings, there 's the best reason to suppose that the fate 
of this ■* oman would be as good in her hands as in her 

Mr. J( kyl was not now talking to convince Tom Gor- 
don, but himself; for, spite of himself, Nina's questions 
had awakened in his mind a sufficient degree of misgiving 
to make H necessary for him to pass in review the argu- 
ments hv which he generally satisfied himself. Mr. Jekyl 
was a tl vologian, and a man of principle. His metaphysi- 
cal talf _it, indeed, made him a point of reference among 
nis Christian brethren ; and he spent much of his leisure 
time in reading theological treatises. His favorite subject 
of all was the nature of true virtue ; and this, he had fixed 
in his mind, consisted in a love of the greatest good. Ac- 
c ing' to his theology, right consisted in creating the 

204 MR. jekyl's opinions. 

greatest amount of happiness ; and every creature had 
rights to be happy in proportion to his capacity of enjoy- 
ment or being. He whose capacity was ten pounds had a 
right to place his own happiness before that of him who 
had five, because, in that way, five pounds more of hap- 
piness would exist in the general whole. He considered 
the right of the Creator to consist in the fact that he had a 
greater amount of capacity than all creatures put together, 
and, therefore, was bound to promote his own happiness 
before all of them put together. He believed that the Cre- 
ator made himself his first object in all that he did ; and, 
descending from him, all creatures were to follow the same 
rule, in proportion to their amount of being; the greater 
capacity of happiness always taking precedence of the less. 
Thus, Mr. Jekyl considered that the Creator brought into 
the world yearly myriads of human beings with no other 
intention than to make them everlastingly miserable ; and 
that this was right, because, his capacity of enjoyment being 
greater than all theirs put together, he had a right to gratify 
himself in this way. 

Mr. Jekyl's belief in slavery was founded on his theol- 
ogy. He assumed that the white race had the largest 
amount of being ; therefore, it had a right to take prece- 
dence of the black. On this point he held long and severe 
arguments with his partner, Mr. Israel McFogg, who, be- 
longing to a different school of theology, referred the whole 
matter to no natural fitness, but to a divine decree, by which 
it pleased the Creator in the time of Noah to pronounce a 
curse upon Canaan. The fact that the African race did not 
descend from Canaan was, it is true, a slight difficulty in 
the chain of the argument : but theologians are daily in the 
habit of surmounting much greater ones. Either way, 
whether by metaphysical fitness or Divine decree, the two 
partners attained the same practical result. 

Mr. Jekyl, though a coarse-grained man, had started 
from the hands of nature no more hard-hearted or unfeeling 
than many others ; but his mind, having for years been 

MR. jekyl's opinions. 205 

immersed in the waters of law and theology, had slowly 
petrified into such a steady consideration of the greatest 
general good, that he was wholly inaccessible to any emo- 
tion of particular humanity. The trembling, eager tone of 
pity, in which Xina had spoken of the woman and children 
who were about to be made victims of a legal process, had 
excited but a moment's pause. __ What considerations of tem- 
poral loss and misery can shake the constancy of the theo- 
logian who lias accustomed himself to contemplate and 
discuss, as a cool intellectual exercise, the eternal misery 
of generations ? — who worships a God that creates myri- 
ads only to glorify himself in their eternal torments ? 


milly's stoey. 

Nina spent the evening in the drawing-room ; and her 
brother, in the animation of a new pursuit, forgetful of the 
difference of the morning, exerted himself to be agreeable, 
and treated her with more consideration and kindness than 
he had done any time since his arrival. He even made some 
off-hand advances towards Clayton, which the latter received 
with good-humor, and which went further than she supposed 
to raise the spirits of Nina ; and so, on the whole, she 
passed a more than usually agreeable evening. On retiring 
to her room, she found Milly, who had been for some time 
patiently waiting for her, having despatched her mistress 
to bed some time since. 

" Well, Miss Nina, I am going on my travels in the morn- 
ing. Thought I must have a little time to see you, lamb, 
'fore I goes." 

" I can't bear to have you ge, Milly ! I don't like that 
man you are going with." 

"I spects he's a nice man," said Milly. "Of course 
he '11 look me out a nice place, because he has always took 
good care of Miss Loo's affairs. So you never trouble 
yourself 'bout me ! I tell you, chile, I never gets where I 
can't find de Lord ; and when I finds Him, I gets along. 
' De Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.' " 

" But you have never been used to living except in our 
family," said Nina, " and, somehow, I feel afraid. If they 
don't treat you well, come back, Milly ; will you ? " 

" Laws, chile, I is n't much feared but what I '11 get along 

milly's story. 207 

well enough. When people keep about dere business, do- 
ing the best dey ken, folks does n't often trouble clem. I 
never yet seed de folks I could n't suit," she added, with a 
glow of honest pride. " No, chile, it is n't for myself I 's 
fearing ; it 's just for you, chile. Chile, you don't know 
what it is to live in dis yer world, and I wants you to get 
de Best Friend to go with you. Why, dear lamb, you wants 
somebody to go to and open your heart ; somebody dat '11 
love you, and always stand by you ; somebody dat '11 
always lead you right, you know. You has more cares than 
such a young thing ought for to have ; great many looking 
to you, and 'pending on you. Now, if your ma was alive, 
it would be different: but, just now, I see how 'tis; 
dere '11 be a hundred things you '11 be thinking and feeling, 
and nobody to say 'em to. And now, chile, you must learn 
to go to de Lord. Why, chile, he loves you ! Chile, he 
loves you just as you be; if you only saw how much, it 
would melt your heart right down. I told you I was going 
some time fur to tell you my sperience — how I first found 
Jesus. Lord, Lord ! but it is a long story. ,J 

Nina, whose quick sympathies were touched by the 
earnestness of her old friend, and still more aroused by the 
allusion to her mother, answered, 

" 0, yes, come, tell me about it ! " And, drawing a low 
ottoman, she. sat down, and laid her head on the lap of her 
humble friend. 

"Well, well, you seef chile," said Milly, her large, dark 
eyes fixing themselves on vacancy, and speaking in a slow 
and dreamy voice, "a body's life, in dis yer world, is a 
mighty strange thing! You see, chile, my mother — well, 
dey brought her from Africa ; my father, too. Heaps and 
heaps my mother has told me about dat ar. Dat ar was a 
mighty fine country, where dey had gold in the rivers, 
and such great, big, tall trees, with de strangest beautiful 
flowers on them you ever did see ! Laws, laws ! well, dey 
brought my mother and my father into Charleston, and dere 
Mr. Campbell, — dat was your ma's father, honey, — he 

208 milly's story. 

bought dem right out of de ship ; but dey had five chil- 
dren, and dey was all sold, and dey never knowed where 
they went to. Father and mother could n't sjjeak a word 
of English when dey come ashore ; and she told me often 
how she could n't speak a word to nobody, to tell 'em how 
it hurt her. 

"Laws, when I was a chile, I 'member how often, when 
de day's work was done, she used to come out and sit and 
look up at de stars, and groan, groan, and groan ! I was 
a little thing, playing round ; and I used to come up to her, 
dancing, and saying, 

" ' Mammy, what makes you groan so ? what 's de mat- 
ter of you ? ' 

" ' Matter enough, chile ! ' she used to say. 'I'sa think- 
ing of my poor children. I likes to look at the stars, be- 
cause dey sees the same stars dat I do. 'Pears like we was 
in one room ; but I don't know where dey is ! Dey don't 
know where I be ! ' 

" Den she 'd say to me, 

" ' Now, chile, you may be sold away from 3'our mammy. 
Der 's no knowing what may happen to you, chile ; but, if 
you gets into any trouble, as I does, you mind, chile, you ask 
God to help you.' 

" ' Who is God, mammy,' says I, ' any how ? ' 

" < Why, chile,' says she, ' he made dese yer stars.' 

" And den I wanted mammy to tell me more about it ; 
only she says, 

" ' He can do anything he likes ; and, if ye are in any 
kind of trouble, he can help you.' 

" Well, to be sure, I did n't mind much about it — all 
dancing round, because pretty well don't need much help. 
But she said dat ar to me so many times, I could n't help 
'member it. Chile, troubles will come ; and, when dey 
does come, you ask God, and he will help you. 

" Well, sure enough, I was n't sold from her, but she was 
took from me, because Mr. Campbell's brother went off to 
live in Orleans, and parted de hands. My father and mother 

milly's story. 209 

was took to Orleans, and I was took to Virginny. Well, 
you see, I growed up along with de young' ladies, — your 
ma, Miss Harrit, Miss Loo, and de rest on 'em, — and I had 
heaps of fun. Dey ail like Milly. Dey could n't nobody 
run, nor jump, nor ride a horse, nor row a boat, like Milly ; 
and su it was Milly here, and Milly dere, and whatever de 
young- ladies wanted, it was Milly made de way for it. 

" Well, dere was a great difference among dem young 
ladies. Dere was Miss Loo — she was de prettiest, and 
she had a great many beaux ; but, den, dere was your ma 
— everybody loved her ; and den dere was Miss Harrit — 
she had right smart of life in her, and was always for doing 
something — always right busy 'tending to something or 
other, and she liked me because I 'd always go in with her. 
Well, well ! dem dar was pleasant times enough ; but when 
I got to be about fourteen or fifteen, I began to feel kind 
o' bad — sort of strange and heavy. I really did n't know 
why, but 'pcared like 's when I got older, I felt I was in 

" 'Member one day your ma came in, and seed me looking 
out of window, and she says to me, 

" ' Milly, what makes you so dull lately ? ' 

" ' 0/ says I, ' I, somehow, I don't have good times.' 

"'Why?' says she; 'why not? Don't everybody 
make much of you, and don't you have everything that you 
want ? ' 

" 0, well,' says I, ' missis, I 's a poor slave-girl, for all 

" Chile, your ma was a weety thing, like you. I 'member 
just how she looked dat minute. I felt sorry, 'cause I 
thought I 'd hurt her feelings. But says she, 

" ' Milly, I don't wonder you feel so. I know I should 
feel so, myself, if I was in your place.' 

" Afterwards, she told Miss Loo and Miss Harrit ; but 
dey _a".ghci, and said dey guessed der was n't many 
girls who were as well oft as Milly Well, den, Miss Har- 
rit, she was married de first. She married Mr. Charles 

210 milly's stoey. 

Blair ; and when she was married, nothing was to do but 
she must have me to go with her. I liked Miss Harrit ; 
but, den, honey, I ; d liked it much better if it had been your 
ma. I 'd always counted that I wanted to belong to your 
ma, and I think your ma wanted me ; but, den, she was 
still, and Miss Harrit she was one of the sort dat never lost 
nothing by not asking for it. She was one of de sort dat 
alwaj^s got tilings, by hook or by crook. She always had 
more clothes, and more money, and more everything, dan 
the rest of them, 'cause she was always wide awake, and 
looking out for herself. 

" Well, Mr. Blair's place was away off in another part of 
Virginity, and I went dere with her. Well, she wan't very 
happy, no ways, she wan't ; because Mr. Blair, he was a 
high fellow. Laws, Miss Nina, when I tells you dis yere 
one you 've got here is a good one, and I 'vise you to take 
him, it's because I knows what comes o' girls marrying 
high fellows. Don't care how good-looking dey is, nor 
what dere manners is, — it 's just the ruin of girls that has 
them. Law, when he was a courting Miss Harrit, it was 
all nobody but her. She was going to be his angel, and he 
was going to give up all sorts of bad ways, and live such a 
good life ! Ah ! she married him ; it all went to smoke ! 
'Fore de month was well over, he got a going in his old 
ways ; and den it was go, go, all de time, carousing and 
drinking, — parties at home, parties abroad, — money flying 
like de water. 

" Well, dis made a great change in Miss Harrit. She 
did n't laugh no more ; she got sharp and cross, and she 
wan't good to me like what she used to be. She took to 
be jealous of me and her husband. She might have saved 
herself de trouble. I should n't have touched him with a 
pair of tongs. But he was always running after everything 
that came in his way ; so no wonder. But, 'tween them 
both, I led a bad life of it. 

" Well, things dragged fe>: 7 aiong in this way. She had 
three children, and, at last, he was killed, one day, falling 

milly's story. 211 

off his horse when he was too drunk to hold the bridle. 
Good riddance, too, I thought. And den, after he 's dead, 
Miss Harrit, she seemed to grow more quiet like, and set- 
ting herself picking up what pieces and crumbs was left for 
her and de children. And I 'member she had one of her 
uncles dere a good many days helping her in counting up 
de debts. Well, dey was talking one day in missis' room, 
and dere was a little light closet on one side, where I got 
set down to do some fine stitching ; but dey was too busy 
in their 'counts to think anything 'bout me. It seemed 
dat de place and de people was all to be sold off to pay 
de debts, — all 'cept a few of us, who were to go off with 
missis, and begin again on a small place, — and I heard him 
telling her about it. 

" ' While your children are small,' he says, 'you can live 
small, and keep things close, and raise enough on the place 
for ye all ; and den you can be making the most of your 
property. Niggers is rising in de market. Since Missouri 
came in, they 's worth double ; and so you can just sell de 
increase of 'em for a good sum. Now, there 's that black 
girl'Milly, of yourn.' — You may be sure, now, I pricked 
up my ears, Miss Nina. — 'You don't often see a girl of 
finer breed than she is,' says he, just as if I 'd been a cow, 
you know. ' Have you got her a husband ? ' 

" ' No,' said Miss Harrit ; and then says she, ' I believe 
Milly is something of a coquette among the young men. 
She 's never settled on anybody yet,' says she. 

" ' Well,' says he, ' that must be attended to, 'cause 
that girl's children will be an estate of themselves. Why, 
I 've known women to have twenty ! and her children 
would n't any of 'em be worth less than eight hundred dol- 
lars. There's a fortune at once. If dey 's like her, dey '11 
be as good as cash in the market, any day. You can send 
out and sell one, if you happen to be in any straits, just 
as soon as you can draw a note on the bank ' 

" 0, laws, Miss Nina, I tell you dis yer fell on me like 
so much lead. 'Cause, you see, I 'd been keeping company 

21*2 milly's story. 

with a very nice young man, and I was going to ask Miss 
Harrit about it dat very day ; but, dere — I laid down roy 
work dat minute, and thinks, says I, ' True as de Lord 's 
in heaven I won't never be married in dis world ! ' And I 
cried 'bout it, off and on, all clay, and at night I told Paul 
'bout it. lie was de one, you know. But Paul, he tried 
to make it all smooth. He guessed it would n't happen ; he 
guessed missis would think better on 't. At any rate, we 
loved each other, and why should n't we take as inuch 
comfort as we could ? Well, I went to Miss Harrit, and 
told her just what I thought 'bout it. Allers had spoke 
my mind to Miss Harrit 'bout everything, and I wan't 
going to stop den. And she laughed at me, and told me 
not to cry 'fore I 's hurt. Well, things went on so two 
or three weeks, and finally Paul he persuaded me. And so 
we was married. When our first child was born, Paul was 
so pleased, he thought strange that I wan't. 

" ' Paul,' said I, ' dis yer child an't ourn; it may be took 
from us, and sold, any day.' 

" 'Well, well,' says he, ' Milly, it maybe God's child, any 
way, even if it an't ourn.' 

" 'Cause, you see, Miss Nina, Paul, he was a Christian 
Ah, well, honey, I can't tell you ; after dat I had a great 
many chil'en, girls and boys, growing up round me. 
Well, I 's had fourteen chil'en, dear, and dey 's all been 
sold from me, every single one of 'em. Lord, it 's a heavy 
cross ! heavy, heavy ! None knows but dem dat bears 

"What a shame!" said Nina. "How could Aunt 
Harriet be such a wicked woman ? — an aunt of mine do 

"Chile, chile," said Milly, "we doesn't none of us 
know what's in us. When Miss Harrit and I was gals 
together, hunting hens' eggs and rowing de boat in de 
river, — well, I would n't have thought it would have been 
so, and she would n't have thought so, neither. But, den, 
what little 's bad in girls when dey 's young and hand- 

milly's story. 213 

some, and all de world smiling on 'cm — 0, honey, it gets 
drefful strong when dey gets grown women, and do 
wrinkles comes in der faces ! Always, when she was a girl, 

— whether it was eggs, or berries, or chincapins, or what, 

— it was Miss Harrit's nature to gel and to keep; and when 
she got old, dat ail turned to money." 

"0! but," said Nina, " it does seem impossible that a 
woman — a lady born, too, and my aunt — could do such a 
thing ! " 

"Ah, ah, honey! ladies-born have some bad stuff in 
dem, sometimes, like de rest of us. But, den, honey, it was 
de most natural thing in de world, come to look on 't ; for 
now, see here, honey, dere Avas your aunt — she was poor, 
and she was pestered for money. Dere was Mas'r George's 
bills and Peter's bills to pay, and Miss Susy's ; and every 
one of 'em must have everything, and dey was all cull- 
ing for money, money ; and dere has been times she did n't 
know which way to turn. Now, you see, when a woman is 
pestered to pay two hundred here and tree hundred dere, 
and when she has got more niggers on her place dan she 
can keep, and den a man calls in and lays down eight 
hundred dollars in gold and bills before her, and sa} r s, ' I 
want dat ar Lucy or George of yourn,' why, don't you 
see ? Dese yer soul-drivers is always round, tempting folks 
dey know is poor ; and dey always have der money as 
handy as de devil has his. But, den, I oughtn't fur to be 
hard upon dem poor soul-drivers, neither, 'cause dey an't 
taught no better. It 's dese yer Christians, dat profess 
Christ, dat makes great talks 'bout religion, dat has der 
Bibles, and turns der backs upon swearing soul-drivers, 
and tinks dey an't fit to speak to — it 's dem, honey, dat 's 
de root of de whole business. Now, dere was dat uncle of 
hern, — mighty great Christian he was, with his prayer- 
meetings, and all dat ! — he was always a putting her up to 
it. 0, dere's been times — dere was times 'long first, Miss 
Nina, when my first chil'en was sold — dat, I tell you, I 
poured out my soid to Miss Harrit, and I 've seen dat ar 

214 milly's story. 

woman cry so dat I was sorry for her. And she said to 
me, ' Milly, I'll never do it again.' But, Lord! I didn't 
trust her, — not a word on 't, — 'cause I knowed she 
would. I knowed dere was dat in her heart dat de devil 
would n't let go of. I knowed he 'd no kind of objection to 
her 'musing herself with meetin's, and prayers, and all dat; 
but he 'd no notion to let go his grip on her heart. 

" But, Lord ! she was n't quite a bad woman, — poor Miss 
Harrit wasn't, — and she would n't have done so bad, if it 
had n't been for him. But he 'd come and have prayers, 
and exhort, and den come prowling round my place like a 
wolf, looking" at my chil'en. 

" ' And, Milly,' he ; d say, ' how do you do now ? Lucy 
is getting to be a right smart girl, Milly. How old is she ? 
Dere 's a lady in Washington has advertised for a maid, — 
a nice woman, a pious lady. I suppose you would n't 
object, Milly ? Your poor mistress is in great trouble for 

" I never said nothing to that man. Only once, when 
he asked me what I thought my Lucy would be worth, 
when she was fifteen years old, says I to him : 

"'Sir, she is worth to me just what your daughter is 
worth to you.' 

"Den I went in and shut de door. I didn't stay to see 
how he took it. Den he 'd go up to de house, and talk to 
Miss Harrit. 'T was her duty, he 'd tell her, to take 
proper care of her goods. And dat ar meant selling my 
chil'en ! I 'member, when Miss Susy came home from 
boarding-school, she was a pretty girl; but I didn't look 
on her very kind, I tell you, 'cause three of my chil'en 
had been sold to keep her at school. My Lucy, — ah, 
honey ! — she went for a lady's maid. I knowed what dat 
ar meant, well enough. De lady had a son grown, and 
he took Lucy with him to Orleans, and dere was an end of 
dat, Dere don't no letters go 'tween us. Once gone, we 
can't write, and it is good as being dead. Ah, no, chile, 
not so good ! Paul used to teach Lucy little hymns, nights, 

millt's story. 215 

'fore she went to sleep. And if she 'd a died right ofF after 
one of dem, it would have been better for her. 0, honey, 
'long dem times, I used to rave and toss like a bull in a 
net — I did so ! 

"Well, honey, I wasn't what I was. I got cross and 
ugly. Miss Harrit, she grew a great Christian, and joined 
de church, and used to have heaps of ministers and 
elders at her house ; and some on 'em used to try and talk 
to me. I told 'cm I 'd seen enough of der old religion, 
and I did n't want to hear no more. But Paul, he was a 
Christian ; and when he talked to me, I was quiet, like, 
though I couldn't be like what he was. Well, last, my 
missis promised me one. She'd give me my youngest 
child, sure and certain. His name was Alfred. Well, dat 
boy ! — I loved dat child better dan any of de rest of 'em. 
He was all I'd got left to love ; for, when he was a year old, 
Paul's master moved away clown to Louisiana, and took 
him off, and I never heard no more of him. So it 'peared as 
if dis yer child was all I had left. Well, he teas a bright 
boy. 0, he was most uncommon ! He was so handy to 
anything, and saved me so many steps ! 0, honey, he had 
such ways with him — dat boy ! — would always make me 
laugh. He took after larnin' mighty, and he larned himself 
to read ; and he 'd read de Bible to mo, sometimes. I just 
brought him up and teached him de best way I could. All 
dat made me 'fraid for him was, dat he was so spirity. 
I 's 'fraid 't would get him into trouble. 

" He wan't no more spirity dan white folks would 
like der chil'en fur to be. When white children holds up 
der heads, and answers back, den de parents laugh, and 
say, ' He 's got it in him ! He 's a bright one ! ' But, if 
one of ourn does so, it 's a drefful thing. I was allers 
talking to Alfred 'bout it, and telled him to keep humble. 
It 'peared like there was so much in him, you could n't keep 
it down. Laws, Miss Nina, folks may say what dey like 
about de black folks, dey '11 never beat it out of my head ; 
— dere 's some on 'em can be as smart as any white folks, 

216 milly's story. 

if dey could have de same chance. How many white boys 
did you ever see would take de trouble for to teach their- 
selves to read ? » And dat 's what my Alfred did. Laws, I 
had a mighty heap of comfort in him, 'cause I was think- 
in' to get my missis to let me hire my time ; den I was 
going to work over hours, and get money, and buy him ; 
because, you ^see, chile, I knowed he was too spirity for a 
slave. Yon see he couldn't learn to stoop; he wouldn't let 
nobody impose on him ; and he always had a word back 
again to give anybody as good as dey sent. Yet, for 
all dat, he was a clear, good boy to me ; and when I used 
to talk to him, and tell him dese things was dangerous, 
he 'd always promise fur to be kerful. Wei], things went 
on pretty well while he was little, and I kept him with me 
till he got to be about twelve or thirteen years old. He 
used to wipe de dishes, and scour de knives, and black de 
shoes, and such-like work. But, by and by, dey said it was 
time dat he should go to de reg'lar work ; an dat ar was de 
time I felt feared. Missis had an overseer, and he was 
real aggravating, and I felt feared clere 'd be trouble ; 
and sure enough dere was, too. Dere was always some- 
thin' brewing 'tween him and Alfred ; and he was always 
running to missis with tales, and I was talking to Alfred. 
But 'peared like he aggravated de boy so, dat he could n't 
do right. Well, one day, when I had been up to town 
for an errand, I come home at night, and I wondered 
Alfred didn't come home to his supper. I thought some- 
thing was wrong ; and I went to de house, and dere sat 
Miss Harrit by a table covered with rolls of money, and 
dere she was a counting it. 

" 'Miss Harrit,' says I, ' I can't find Alfred. An't you 
seen him ? ' says I. 

"At first she didn't answer, but went on counting — 
fifty-one, fifty-two, fifty-three. Finally I spoke again. 

" ' I hope dere an't nothing happened to Alfred, Miss 
Harrit ? ' 

" She looked up, and says she to me, 

millt's stoet. 217 

" 'Milly/ says she, ' de fact is, Alfred has got too much 
for me to manage, and I had a great deal of money offered 
for him ; and I sold him.' 

" I felt something strong coming up in my throat, and I 
just went up and took hold of her shoulders, and said I, 

" 'Miss Harrit, you took de money for thirteen of my 
chil'en, and you promised me, sure enough, I should have 
dis yer one. You call dat being a Christian ? ' says I. 

" 'Why,' says she, ' Milly, he an't a great way off; you 
can see him about as much. It 's only over to Mr. Jones's 
plantation. You can go and see him, and he can come and 
see you. And you know you didn't like the man who had 
the care of him here, and thought he was always getting 
him into trouble.' 

" ' Miss Harrit/ says I, -' you may cheat yourself saying 
dem things ; but you don't cheat me, nor de Lord neither. 
You folks have de say all on your side, with your ministers 
preaching us down out of de Bible ; you won't teach us to 
read. But I 'm going straight to de Lord with dis yer 
case. I tell you, if de Lord is to be found, I '11 find him ; 
and I '11 ask him to look on 't, — de way you 've been treating 
me, — selling my chil'en, all the way 'long, to pay for your 
chil'en, and now breaking your word to me, and taking dis 
yer boy, de last drop of blood in my heart ! I '11 pray de 
Lord to curse every cent of dat ar money to you and your 
chil'en ! ' 

" Dat ar was de way I spoke to her, child. I was poor, 
ignorant cretur, and didn't know God, and my heart was like 
a red-hot coal. I turned and walked right straight out from 
her. I did n't speak no more to her, and she didn't speak 
no more to me. And when I went to bed at night, dar, 
sure 'nough, was Alfred's bed in de corner, and his Sunday 
coat hanging up over it, and his Sunday shoes I had bought 
for him with my own money ; 'cause he was a handsome 
boy, and I wanted him always to look nice. Well, so, come 
Sunday morning, I took his coat and his shoes, and made 
a bundle of 'em, and I took my stick, and says I, ' I '11 just 

218 milly's stoky. 

go over to Jones's place and see what has 'come of Alfred. 
All de time, I had n't said a word to missis, nor she to 
me. Well, I got about half-way over to de place, and dere 
I stopped under a big hickory-tree to rest me a bit, and I 
looked along and seed some one a coming ; and pretty soon 
I knowed it was Huldah. She was one that married Paul's 
cousin, and she lived on Jones's place. And so I got up 
and went to meet her, and told her I was going over to see 
'bout Alfred. 

"'Lord!' says she, ' Milly, haven't you heard dat 
Alfred 's dead ? ' 

" Well, Miss Nina, it seemed as if my heart and every- 
thing in it stopped still. And said I, ' Huldah, has dey 
killed him ? ' 

" And said she, ' Yes.' And she told me it was dis yer 
way : Dat Stiles — he dat was Jones's overseer — had 
heard dat Alfred was dreadful spirity ; and when boys 
is so, sometimes dey aggravates 'em to get 'em riled, 
and den dey whips 'em to break 'em in. So Stiles, when 
he was laying off Alfred's task, was real aggravating to him ; 
and dat boy — well, he answered back, just as he allers 
would be doing, 'cause he was smart, and it 'peared like he 
couldn't keep it in. And den dey all laughed round dere, 
and den Stiles was mad, and swore he 'd whip him ; and 
den Alfred, he cut and run. And den Stiles he swore 
awful at him, and he told him to ' come here, and he 'd give 
him hell, and pay him de cash.' Dem is de very words he 
said to my boy. And Alfred said he would n't come back ; 
he wasn't going to be whipped. And just den young 
Master Bill come along, and wanted to know what was de 
matter. So Stiles told him, and he took out his pistol, and 
said, ' Here, young dog, if you don't come back before I 
count five, I '11 fire ! ' 

" ' Fire ahead ! ' says Alfred ; 'cause, you see, dat boy 
never knowed what fear was. And so he fired. And Hul- 
dah said he just jumped up and give one scream, and fell 
flat. And dey run up to him, and he was dead ; 'cause, 

millt's story. 219 

you see, de bullet went right through his heart. Well, dey 
took off his jacket and looked, but it wan't of no use ; his 
face settled down still. And Huldah said dat dey just dug 
a hole and put him in. Xothing on him — nothing round 
him — no coffin ; like he'd been a dog. Huldah showed 
me de jacket. Dere was de hole, cut right round in it, 
like it was stamped, and his blood running out on it. I 
didn't say a word. I took up de jacket, and wrapped it up 
with his Sunday clothes, and I walked straight — straight 
home. I walked up into missis' room, and she was dressed 
for church, sure enough, and sat dere reading her Bible. 
I laid it right down under her face, dat jacket. ' You see 
dat hole ! ' said I ; ' you see dat blood ! Alfred 's killed ! 
You killed him ; his blood be on you and your chil'en ! 
0, Lord God in heaven, hear me, and render unto her 
double ! ' " 

Nina drew in her breath hard, with an instinctive shudder. 
Hilly had drawn herself up, in the vehemence of her narra- 
tion, and sat leaning forward, her black eyes dilated, her 
strong arms clenched before her, and her powerful frame ex- 
panding and working with the violence of her emotion. 
She might have looked, to one with mythological associations, 
like the figure of a black marble Nemesis in a trance of wrath. 
She sat so for a few minutes, and then her muscles relaxed, 
her eyes gradually softened ; she looked tenderly, but sol- 
emnly, down on Nina. " Dem was awful words, chile ; but 
I was in Egypt den. I was wandering in de wilderness of 
Sinai. I had heard de sound of de trumpet, and de voice of 
words ; but, chile, I hadn't seen de Lord. "Well — I went 
out, and I did n't speak no more to Miss Harrit. Dere was 
a great gulf fixed 'tween us ; and dere did n't no words 
pass over it. I did my work — I scorned not to do it ; but I 
didn't speak to her. Den it was, chile, dat I thought of what 
my mother told me, years ago ; it came to me, all fresh — ■ 
' Chile, when trouble comes, you ask de Lord to help you ;' 
and I saw dat I had n't asked de Lord to help me ; and 
now, says I to myself, de Lord can't help me; 'cause he 

220 willy's story. 

could n't bring" back Alfred, no way you could fix it ; and 
yet I wanted to find de Lord, 'cause I was so tossed up 
and down. I wanted just to go and say, ' Lord, you see 
what dis woman has done.' I wanted to put it to him, if 
he 'd stand up for such a thing as that. Lord, how de 
world, and everything, looked to me in clem times ! Every- 
thing goin' on in de way it did ; and dese yer Christians, 
dat said dat cloy was going into de kingdom, doing as 
dey did ! I tell you, I sought de Lord early and late. 
Many nights I have been out in de woods and laid on de 
ground till morning, calling and crying, and 'peared like 
nobody heerd me. 0, how strange it used to look, when I 
looked up to de stars ! winking at me, so kind of still and 
solemn, but never saying a word ! Sometimes I got dat 
wild, it seemed as if I could tear a hole through de sky, 
'cause I must find God ; I had an errand to him, and I 
must find him. 

" Den I heard 'em read out de Bible, 'bout how de 
Lord met a man on a threshing-floor, and I thought maybe 
if I had a threshing-floor he would come to me. So I 
threshed down a place just as hard as I could under de 
trees; and den I prayed dere — but he didn't come. 
Den dere was coming a great camp-meeting ; and I 
thought I'd go and see if I could find de Lord dere; 
because, you see, missis, she let her people go Sunday to 
de camp-meeting. Well, I Avent into de tents and heerd 
clern sing ; and I went afore de altar, and I heerd preach- 
ing ; but it 'peared like it was no good. It did n't touch 
me nowhere ; and I could n't see nothing to it. I heerd 
'em read out of de Bible, ' 0, dat I knew where I might 
find him. I would come even to his seat. I would order 
my cause before him. I would fill my mouth with argu- 
ments ;' and I thought, sure enough, dat ar 's just what I 
want. Well, came on dark night, and dey had all de 
camp-fires lighted up, and dey was singing de hymns 
round and round, and I went for to hear de preaching. 
And dere was a man — pale, lean man he was, with 

milly's stoet. 221 

black eyes and black hair. Well, clat ar man, lie preached 
a sermon, to be sure, I never shall forget. His text was, 
' He that spared not his own Son, but freely delivered him 
up for us all, how shall he not with him freely give us all 
things ? ' Well, you see, the first sound of dis took me, 
because I 'd lost my son. And the man, he told us who 
de Son of God was, — Jesus, — 0, how sweet and beautiful 
he was ! How he went round doing for folks. 0, Lord, 
what a story dat ar was ! And, den, how dey took him, 
and put de crown of thorns on his head, and hung him up 
bleeding, bleeding, and bleeding ! God so loved us dat 
he let his own dear Son suffer all dat for us. Chile, I got 
up, and I went to de altar, and I kneeled down with de 
mourners ; and I fell flat on my face, and dey said I was 
in a trance. Maybe I was. Where I was, I don't know ; 
but I saw de Lord ! Chile, it seemed as if my very heart 
was still. I saw him, suffering, bearing with us, year in 
and year out — bearing — ■ bearing ■ — ■ bearing so patient ! 
'Feared like, it wan't just on de cross ; but bearing always, 
every whar ! 0, chile, I saw how he loved us ! — us all — 
all- — -every one on us! — we dat hated each other so! 
'Peared like he was using his heart up for us, all de time — 
bleedin' for us like he did on Calvary, and willin' to bleed ! 
0, chile, I saw what it was for me to be hatin', like I 'd 
hated. ' 0, Lord,' says I, ' I give up ! 0, Lord, I never see 
you afore ! I did n't know. Lord, I 's a poor sinner ! I 
won't hate no more ! ' And 0, chile, den dere come such a 
rush of love in my soul ! Says I, ' Lord, I ken love even de 
white folks ! ' And den came another rush ; and says I, ' Yes, 
Lord, I love poor Miss Harrit, dat 's sole all my chil'en, and 
been de death of my poor Alfred! I loves her.' Chile, I 
overcome — I did so — I overcome by de blood of de 
Lamb ■ — de Lamb ! — Yes, de Lamb, chile ! — 'cause if he 'd 
been a lion I could a kept in ; 't was de Lamb dat over- 

" When I come to, I felt like a chile. I went home to 
Miss Harrit ; and I had n't spoke peaceable to her since 

222 milly's stoey. 

Alfred died. I went in to 'her. She'd been sick, and she 
was in her room, looking- kinder pale and yaller, poor thing ; 
'cause her son, honey, he got drunk and 'bused her awful. 
I went in, and says I, ' 0, Miss Harrit, I 's seen de Lord ! 
Miss Harrit, I an't got no more hard feelin's ; I forgive ye, 
and loves ye with all my heart, just as de Lord does.' 
Honey, ye ought to see how dat woman cried ! Says she, 
'Milly,. I 's a great sinner.' Says I, 'Miss Harrit, we 's 
sinners, both on us, but de Lord gives hisself for us both ; 
and if he loves us poor sinners, we must n't be hard on each 
other. Ye was tempted, honey,' says I (for you see I felt 
like makin' senses for her) ; ' but de Lord Jesus has got a 
pardon for both on us.' 

"After dat, I didn't have no more trouble with Miss 
Harrit. Chile, we was sisters in Jesus. I bore her bur- 
dens, and she bore mine. And, dear, de burdens was heavy ; 
for her son he was brought home a corpse ; he shot hisself 
right through de heart, trying to load a gun when he was 
drunk. 0, chile, I thought den how I 'd prayed de Lord to 
render unto her double ; but I had a better mind den. Ef I 
could have brought poor Mas'r George to life, I 'd a done it ; 
and I held de poor woman's head on my arm all dat ar 
night, and she a screamin' every hour. Well, dat ar took 
her down to de grave. She did n't live much longer ; but 
_she was ready to die. She sent and bought my daughter 
Lucy's son, dis here Tom, and gin him to me. Poor thing ! 
she did all she could. 

" I watched with her de night she died. 0, Miss Nina, 
if ever ye 're tempted to hate anybody, think how 't '11 be 
with 'em when dey comes to die. 

"She died hard, poor thing! and she was cast clown 
'bout her sins. ' 0, Milly,' says she, ' the Lord and you 
may forgive me, but I can't forgive myself.' 

" And, says I to her, ' 0, missis, don't think of it no more ; 
de Lord's hid it in his own heart ! ' 0, but she struggled 
long, honey; she was all night dyin', and 'twas ' Milly ! 
Milly ! ' all the time ; ' , Milly, stay with me ! ' 

milly's story. 223 

"And, chile, I felt I loved her like my own soul ; and 
when de day broke de Lord set her free, and I laid her 
down like she 'd been one o' my babies. I took up her 
poor hand. It was warm, but the strength was all gone out 
on't; and, '0/ I thought, 'ye poor thing, how could I 
ever have hated ye so?' Ah, chile, we mustn't hate no- 
body ; we 's all poor creators, and de dear Lord he loves 
us all." 



About four miles east of Canema lay the plantation of 
Nina's uncle, whither Harry had been sent on the morning 
which we have mentioned. The young man went upon his 
errand in no very enviable mood of mind. Uncle Jack, as 
Nina always called him, was the nominal guardian of the 
estate, and a more friendly and indulgent one Harry could 
not have desired. He was one of those joyous, easy souls, 
whose leading desire seemed to be that everybody in the 
world should make himself as happy as possible, with- 
out fatiguing him with consultations as to particulars. 
His confidence in Harry was unbounded ; and he esteemed 
it a good fortune that it was so, as he was wont to say, 
laughingly, that his own place was more than he could 
manage. Like all gentlemen who make the study of their 
own ease a primary consideration, Uncle Jack found the whole 
course of nature dead-set against him. For, as all creation 
is evidently organized with a view to making people work, 
it follows that no one has so much care as the man who 
resolves not to take any. Uncle Jack was systematically, 
and as a matter of course, cheated and fleeced, by his over- 
seers, by his negroes, and the poor whites of his vicinity ; 
and, worst of all, continually hectored and lectured by his 
wife therefor. Nature, or destiny, or whoever the lady 
may be that deals the matrimonial cards, with her 
usual thoughtfulness in balancing opposites, had arranged 
that jovial, easy, care-hating Uncle John should have been 
united to a most undaunted and ever-active spirit of 


enterprise and resolution, who never left anything quiet in 
his vicinity. She it was who continually disturbed his 
repose, by constantly ferreting- out, and bringing before his 
view, all the plots, treasons, and conspiracies, with which 
plantation-life is ever abounding ; bringing down on his 
devoted head the necessity of discriminations, decisions, 
and settlements, most abhorrent to an easy man. 

The fact was, that responsibility, aggravated by her hus- 
band's negligence, had transformed the worthy woman into 
a sort of domestic dragon of the Hesperides ; and her good 
helpmeet declared that he believed she never slept, nor 
meant anybody else should.. It was all very well, he would 
observe. He would n't quarrel with her for walking the 
whole night long, or sleeping with her head out of the 
window, watching the smoke-house ; for stealing out after one 
o'clock to convict Pompey, or circumvent Cuff, if she only 
would n't bother him with it. Suppose the half of the hams 
were carried off, between two and three, and sold to Abijah 
Skinflint for rum ? — He must have his sleep ; and, if he had to 
pay for it in ham, why, he 'd pay for it in ham ; but sleep he 
must, and would. And, supposing he really believed, in 
his own soul, that Cuffy, who came in the morning, with a 
long face, to announce the theft, and to propose measures 
of discoveiy, was in fact the main conspirator — what then ? 
He could n't prove it on him. Cuff had gone astray from the 
womb, speaking lies ever since he was born ; and what would 
be the use of his fretting and sweating himself to death to get 
truth out of Cuff? Xo, no ! Mrs. G., as he commonly called 
his helpmeet, might do that sort of thing, but she must n't 
bother him about it. Not that Uncle Jack was invariable in his 
temper ; human nature has its limits, and a personage who 
finds " mischief still for idle hands to do " often seems to 
take a malicious pleasure in upsetting the temper of idle 
gentlemen. So, Uncle Jack, though confessedly the best 
fellow in the world, was occasionally subject to a tropical 
whirlwind of passion, in which he would stamp, tear, and 
swear, with most astounding energy ; and in those ignited 


moments all the pent-up sorrows of his soul would fly about 
him, like red-hot shot, in every direction. And then he would 
curse the negroes, curse the overseers, curse the plantation, 
curse Cufl* and Pomp and Dinah, curse the poor white folks 
round, curse Mr. Abijah Skinflint, and declare that he 
would send them and the niggers all severally to a depart- 
ment which politeness forbids us to mention. He would 
pour out awful threats of cutting up, skinning alive, and 
selling to Georgia. To all which commotion and bluster 
the negroes would listen, rolling the whites of their eyes, 
and sticking their tongues in their cheeks, with an air of 
great satisfaction and amusement ; because experience had 
sufficiently proved to them that nobody had ever been cut 
up, skinned alive, or sent to Georgia, as the result of any of 
these outpourings. So, when Uncle Jack had one of these 
fits, they treated it as hens do an. approaching thunder- 
storm, — ran under cover, and waited for it to blow over. 

As to Madam Gordon, her wrath was another affair. And 
her threats they had learned to know generally meant some- 
thing ; though it very often happened that, in the dispensa- 
tion of most needed justice, Uncle Jack, if in an extra good 
humor, would rush between the culprit and his mistress, 
and bear him off in triumph, at the risk of most serious con- 
sequences to himself afterwards. Our readers are not to 
infer from this that Madam Gordon was really and naturally 
an ill-natured woman. She was only one of that denomina- 
tion of vehement housekeepers who are to be found the 
world over — women to whom is appointed the hard mis- 
sion of combating, single-handed, for the principles of order 
and exactness, against a whole world in arms. Had she had 
the good fortune to have been born in Vermont or Massa- 
chusetts, she would have been known through the whole 
village as a woman who could n't be cheated half a cent on 
a pound in meat, and had an instinctive knowledge whether 
a cord of wood was too short, or a pound of butter too 
light. Put such a woman at the head of the disorderly rab- 
ble of a plantation, with a cheating overseer, surrounded by 


thieving' poor whites, to whom the very organization of so- 
ciety leaves no resource but thieving, with anever-mind hus- 
band, with land that has seen its best days, and is fast running 
to barrenness, and you must not too severely question her 
temper, if it should not be at all times in perfect subjection. 
In fact, Madam Gordon's cap habitually bristled with hor- 
ror, and she was rarely known to sit down. Occasionally, 
it is true, she alighted upon a chair ; but was in a moment 
up again, to pursue some of her household train, or shout, 
at the top of her lungs, some caution toward the kitchen. 

When Harry reined up his horse before the plantation, 
the gate was thrown open for him by old Pomp, a super- 
annuated negro, who reserved this function as his peculiar 

" Lord bress you, Harry, dat you ? Bress you, you ought 
fur to see mas'r ! Such a gale up to de house I " 

" What 's the matter, Pomp ? " 

" Why, mas'r, he done got one of he fits ! Tarin' round 
dar, fit to split ! — stompin' up and down de 'randy, 
swarm' like mad ! Lord, if he an't ! He done got Jake 
tied up, dar! — swars he 's goin' to cut him to pieces ! He! 
he ! he ! Has so ! Got Jake tied up dar ! Ho ! ho ! ho ! 
Eeal curus ! And he 's blowin' hisself out dere mighty 
hard, I tell you ! So, if you want to get word wid him, you 
can't do it till he done got through with dis yer ! " And 
the old man ducked his pepper-and-salt-colored head, and 
chuckled with a lively satisfaction. 

As Harry rode slowly up the avenue to the house, he 
caught sight of the portly figure of its master, stamping 
up and down the veranda, vociferating and gesticulating in 
the most violent manner. He was a corpulent man, of mid- 
dle age, with a round, high forehead, set off with grizzled 
hair. His blue eyes, fair, rosy, fat face, his mouth adorned 
with brilliant teeth, gave him, when in good-humor, the air 
of a handsome and agreeable man. At present his coun- 
tenance was flushed almost to purple, as he stood storming, 
from his rostrum, at a saucy, ragged negro, who, tied to the 


horse-post, stood the picture of unconcern ; while a crowd 
of negro men, women, and children, were looking on. 

" I '11 teach you ! " he vociferated, shaking his fist. " I 
won't — won't bear it of you, you dog, you ! You won't 
take my orders, won't you? I'll kill you — that I will I 
I '11 cut you up into inch-pieces ! " 

" No, you won't, and you know you won't ! " interposed 
Mrs. Gordon, who sat at the window behind him. "You 
won't, and you know you won't! and they know you won't, 
too ! It will all end in smoke, as it always does. I only 
wish you would n't talk and threaten, because it makes you 
ridiculous ! " 

" Hold your tongue, too ! I '11 be master in my own 
house, I say! Infernal dog! — I say, Cuff, cut him up! 

— Why don't you go at him? — Give it to him! — What 
you waiting for ? " 

" If mas'r pleases ! " said Cuff, rolling up his eyes, and 
making a deprecating gesture. 

" If I please ! Well, blast you, I do please ! Go at him ! 

— thrash away! Stay, I'll come myself." And, seizing a 
cowhide, which lay near him, he turned up his cuffs, and ran 
down the steps ; but, missing his footing in his zeal, came 
head-first against the very post where the criminal was tied. 

"There! I hope, now, you are satisfied! You have 
killed me ! — you have broke my head, you have ! I shall 
be laid up a month, all for you, you ungrateful dog ! " 

Cuffy and Sambo came to the rescue, raised him up 
carefully, and began brushing the dust off his clothes, 
smothering the laughter with which they seemed ready to 
explode, while the culprit at the post seemed to considei 
this an excellent opportunity to put in his submission. 

" Please, mas'r, do forgive me ! I tole 'em to go out, 
and dey said dey would n't. I did n't mean no harm when 
I said 'Mas'r had better go hisself;' 'cause I thinks so 
now. Mas'r had better go ! Dem folks is curus, and dey 
won't go for none of us. Dey just acts ridiculous, dey 
does ! And I did n't mean fur to be sarcy, nor nothin'. 


I say 'gin, if mas'r '11 take bis horse and go over dar, 
mas'r drive dose folks out; and nobody else can't do it! 
"We done can't do it — dey jest sarce us. Now, for my 
Heavenly Master, all dis yere is de truth I 've been telling. 
De Lord, de Master, knows it is ; and, if mas'r '11 take 
his horse, and ride down dere, he 'd see so ; so dere, just as 
I 've been telling mas'r. I did n't mean no harm at all, I 

The quarrel, it must be told, related to the ejecting of a 
poor white family, which had squatted, as the phrase is, in a 
deserted cabin, on a distant part of the Gordon plantation. 
Mrs. Gordon's untiring assiduity having discovered this 
fact, she had left her husband no peace till something was 
undertaken in the way of ejectment. He accordingly com- 
missioned Jake, a stout negro, on the morning of the pres- 
ent day, to go over and turn them off. Now, Jake, who 
inherited to the full the lofty contempt with which the 
plantation negro regards the poor white folks, started upon 
his errand, nothing loth, and whistled his way in high 
feather, with two large dogs at his heels. But, when he 
found a miserable, poor, sick woman, surrounded by four 
starving children, Jake's mother's milk came back to him ; 
and, instead of turning them out, he actually pitched a dish 
of cold potatoes in among them, which he picked up in a 
neighboring cabin, with about the same air of contemptuous 
pity with which one throws scraps to a clog. And then, 
meandering his way back to the house, informed his master 
that " He couldn't turn de white trash out; and, if he 
wanted them turned out, he would have to go hisself." 

Now, we all know that a fit of temper has very often 
nothing- to do with the thing which appears to give rise to 
it. When a cloud is full charged with electricity, it makes 
no difference which bit of wire is put in. The flash and the 
thunder come one way as well as another. Mr. Gordon had 
received troublesome letters on business, a troublesome lec- 
ture from his wife, his corn-cake had been over-done at break- 
fast, and his coffee burned bitter ; besides which, he had a cold 


iii his head corning on, and there was a settlement brewing 
with the overseer. In consequence of all which things, 
though Jake's mode of delivering himself was n't a whit 
more saucy than ordinaiy, the storm broke upon him then 
and there, and raged as we have described. The heaviest 
part of it, however, being now spent, Mr. Gordon consented 
to pardon the culprit on condition that he would bring him 
up his horse immediately, when he would ride over and see 
if he could n't turn out the offending party. He pressed 
Harry, who was rather a favorite of his, into the service ; 
and, in the course of a quarter of an hour, they were riding 
off in the direction of the squatter's cabin. 

" It 's perfectly insufferable, what we proprietors have to 
bear from this tribe of creatures ! " he said. " There ought 
to be hunting-parties got up to chase them down, and ex- 
terminate 'em, just as we do rats. It would be a kindness 
to them ; the only thing you can do for them is to kill them. 
As for charity, or that kind of thing, you might as well 
throw victuals into the hollow logs as to try to feed 'em. 
The government ought to pass laws, — we will have laws, 
somehow or other, — and get them out of the state." 

And, so discoursing, the good man at length arrived 
before the door of a miserable, decaying log-cabin, out of 
whose glassless windows dark emptiness looked, as out of 
the eye-holes of a skull. Two scared, cowering children 
disappeared round the corner as he approached. He 
kicked open the door, and entered. Crouched on a pile of 
dirty straw, sat a miserable, haggard woman, with large, 
wild eyes, sunken cheeks, dishevelled, matted hair, and 
long, lean hands, like bird's-claws. At her skinny breast 
an emaciated infant was hanging, pushing, with its little 
skeleton hands, as if to force the nourishment which nature 
no longer gave ; and two scared-looking children, with feat- 
ures wasted and pinched blue with famine, were clinging to 
her gown. The whole group huddled together, drawing as 
far as possible away from the new comer, looked up with 
large, frightened eyes, like hunted wild animals. 


"What you here for?" was the first question of Mr. 
Gordon, put in no very decided tone ; for, if the truth must 
be told, his combativeness was oozing out. 

The woman did not answer, and, after a pause, the young- 
est child piped up, in a shrill voice, 

" An't got nowhere else to be ! " 

"Yes," said the woman, "we camped on Mr. Durant's 
place, and Bobfield — him is the overseer — pulled clown the 
cabin right over our head. 'Pears like we could n't get 

" Where is your husband ? " 

"Gone looking for work. 'Pears like he could n't get 
none nowhere. 'Pears like nobody wants us. But we have 
got to be somewhere, though ! " said the woman, in a mel- 
ancholy, apologetic tone. " We can't die, as I see ! — wish 
we could ! " 

Mr. Gordon's eye fell upon two or three cold potatoes in 
a piece of broken crock, over which the woman appeared 
keeping jealous guard. 

"What you doing with those potatoes ? " 

" Saving them for the children's dinner." 

" And is that all you We got to eat, I want to know ? " 
said Mr. Gordon, in a high, sharp tone, as if he were get- 
ting angry very fast. 

" Yes," said the woman. 

" What did you have to eat yesterday ? " 

" Nothing ! " said the woman. 

" And what did you eat the day before ? " 

"Found some old bones round the nigger houses ; and 
some on 'em give us some corn-cake." 

" Why the devil didn't you send up to my house, and get 
some bacon ? Picking up bones, slop, and swill, round the 
nigger huts ? Why didn't you send up for some ham, and 
some meal ? Lord bless you, you don't think Madam Gor- 
don is a dog, to bite you, do you ? Wait here till I send 
you down something fit to eat. Just end in my having to 
take care of you, I see ! And, if you are going to stay 


here, there will be something to be done to keep the rain 

" There, now," he said to Harry, as he was mounting- his 
horse, "just see what 'tis to bo made with hooks in one's 
back, like me ! Everybody hangs on to me, of course ! 
Now, there 's Durant turns off these folks ; there 's Peters 
turns them off! Well, what's the consequence? They 
come and litter down on me, just because I am an easy, soft- 
hearted old fool ! It 's too devilish bad ! They breed like 
rabbits ! What God Almighty makes such people for, I 
don't know ! I suppose He does. But there 's these poor, 
miserable trash have children like sixty ; and there 's folks 
living in splendid houses, dying for children, and can't have 
any. If they manage one or two, the scarlet-fever or whoop- 
ing-cough makes off with 'em. Lord bless me, things go 
on in a terrible mixed-up way in this world ! And, then, 
what upon earth I 'm to say to- Mrs. G. ! I know what 
she '11 say to me. She '11 tell me she told me so — 
that 's what she always says. I wish she 'd go and see 
them herself — I do so! Mrs. G. is the nicest kind of a 
woman — no mistake about that ; but she has an awful 
deal of energy, that woman ! It 's dreadful fatiguing to a 
quiet man, like me — dreadful ! But I 'm sure I don't know 
what I should do without her. She '11 be down upon me 
about this woman ; but the woman must have some ham, 
that 's flat ! Cold potatoes and old bones ! Pretty story ! 
Such people have no business to live at all ; but, if they will 
live, they ought to eat Christian things ! There goes Jake. 
Why could n't he turn 'em off before I saw 'em ? It would 
have saved me all this plague ! Dog knew what he was 
about, when he got me down here ! Jake ! 0, Jake, Jake ! 
come here ! " 

Jake came shambling along up to his master, with an ex- 
ternal appearance of the deepest humility, under which was 
too plainly seen to lurk a facetious air of waggish satisfac- 

"Here, you, Jake ; you get a basket — " 


"Yes, mas'r! " said Jake, with an air of provoking in 

" Be still saying ' Yes, rnas'r/ and hear what I ? ve got u 
say ! Mind yourself! " 

Jake gave a side glance of inexpressible drollery at Har- 
ry, and then stood like an ebony statue of submission. 

"You go to your missis, and ask her for the key of the 
smoke-house, and bring it to me." 

" Yes, sir." 

"And you tell your missis to send me a peek of meal. 
Stay — a loaf of bread, or some biscuit, or corn-cake, or 
anything else which may happen to be baked up. Tell her 
I want them sent out right away." 

Jake bowed and disappeared. 

" Now we may as well ride down this path, while- he is 
gone for the things. Mrs. G. will blow off on him first, so 
that rather less of it will come upon me. I wish I could 
get her to see them herself. Lord bless her, she is a kind- 
hearted woman enough ! but she thinks there 's no use do- 
ing, — and there an't. She is right enough about it. But, 
then, as the woman says, there must be some place for them 
to be in the world. The world is wide enough, I 'm sure ! 
Plague take it ! why can't we pass a law to take them all in 
with our niggers, and then they 'd have some one to take 
care of them ! Then we 'd do something for them, and 
there 'd be some hope of keeping 'em comfortable." 

Harry felt in no wise inclined to reply to any of this con- 
versation, because he knew that, though nominally addressed 
to him, the good gentleman was talking merely for the sake 
of easing his mind, and that he would have opened his heart 
just as freely to the next hickory-bush, if he had not hap- 
pened to be present. So he let him expend himself, waiting 
for an opportunity to introduce subjects which lay nearer 
his heart. 

In a convenient pause, he found opportunity to say, 

"Miss Nina sent me over here, this morning." 

" Ah, Nin ! my pretty little Nin ! Bless the child ! She 


did ? Why could n't she come over herself, and comfort an 
old fellow's heart ? Nin is the prettiest girl in the county i 
I tell you that, Harry ! " 

" Miss Nina is in a good deal of trouble. Master Tom 
came home last night drunk, and to-day he is so cross and 
contrary she can't do anything with him." 

" Drunk ? 0, what a sad dog ! Tom gets drunk too often ! 
Carries that too far, altogether ! Told him that, the last 
time I talked to him. Says I, ' Tom, it does very well for a 
young man to have a spree once in one or two months. I 
did it myself, when I was young. But/ says I, ' Tom, to 
spree all the time, won't do, Tom ! ' says I. ' Nobody minds 
a fellow being drunk occasionally ; but he ought to be mod- 
erate about it, and know where to stop/ says I ; ' because, 
when it comes to that, that he is drunk every day, or every 
other day, why, it 's my opinion that he may consider the 
devil 's got him ! ' I talked to Tom just so, right out 
square; because, you see, I'm in a father's place to him. 
But, Lord, it don't seem to have done him a bit of good ! 
Good Lord ! they tell me he is drunk one half his time, and 
acts like a crazy creature ! Goes too far, Tom does, alto- 
gether. Mrs. G. an't got any patience with him. She 
blasts at him every time he comes here, and he blasts 
at her ; so it an't very comfortable having him here. Good 
woman at heart, Mrs. Gordon, but a little strong in her 
ways, you know ; and Tom is strong, too. So it 's fire fight 
fire, when they get together. It 's no ways comfortable to 
a i.;an wanting to have everybody happy around him. Lord 
bless me ! I wish Nin were my daughter ! Why can't she 
come over here, and live with me ? She has n't got any 
more spirit in her than just what I like. Just enough fizz 
in her to keep one from flatting out. What about those 
beaux of hers ? Is she going to be married ? Hey ? " 

" There 's two gentlemen there, attending upon Miss 
Nina. One is Mr. Carson, of New York — " 

"Hang it all! she isn't going to marry a d d Yan- 
kee ! Why, brother would turn over in his grave ! " 


" I don't think it will be necessary to put himself to that 
trouble," said Harry, "for I rather think it's Mr. Clay- 
ton who is to be the favored one." 

"Clayton! good blood! — -like that! Seems to be a 
gentlemanly, good fellow, does n't he ? " 

" Yes, sir. He owns a plantation, I 'm told, in South 

" Ah ! ah ! that 's well ! But I hate to spare Nin ! I 
never half liked sending her off to New York. Don't be- 
lieve in boarding-schools. I 've seen as fine girls grown on 
plantations as any man need want. What do we want to 
send our girls there, to get fipenny-bit ideas ? I thank the 
Lord, I never was in New York, and I never mean to be ! 
Carolina born and raised, I am ; and my wife is Virginia — 
pure breed ! No boarding-school about her ! And, when I 
stood up to be married to her, there was n't a girl in Vir- 
ginia could stand up with her. Her cheeks were like dam- 
ask roses ! A tall, straight, lively girl, she was ! Knew 
her own mind, and had a good notion of speaking it, too. 
And there is n't a woman, now, that can get through the 
business she can, and have her eyes always on everything. 
If it does make me uncomfortable, every now and then, I 
ought to take it, and thank the Lord for it. For, if it wan't 
for her, what with the overseer, and the niggers, and the 
poor white trash, we should all go to the devil in a heap ! " 

" Miss Nina sent me over here to be out of Master Tom's 
way," said Harry, after a pause. "He is bent upon hec- 
toring me, as usual. You know, sir, that he always had a 
spite against me, and it seems to grow more and more bitter. 
He quarrels with her about the management of everything 
on the place ; and you know, sir, that I try to do my very 
best, and you and Mrs. Gordon have always been pleased 
to say that I did well." 

" So we did, Harry, my boy ! So we did i Stay here as 
Long as you like. Just suit yourself about that. Maybe 
you 'd like to go out shooting with me." 

" I 'in worried," said Harry, " to be obliged to be away 


just at the time of putting in the seed. Everything depends 
upon my overseeing." 

" Why don't you go back, then ? Tom's ugliness is 
nothing but because he is drunk. There 's where it is ! I 
see through it ! You see, when a fellow has had a drunken 
spree, wiry, the day after it he is all at loose ends and cross 
— nerves all ravelled out, like an old stocking. Then fellows 
are sulky and surly like. I ? ve heard of their having tem- 
perance societies up in those northern states, and I think 
something of that sort would be good for our young men. 
They get drunk too often. Full a third of them, I should 
reckon, get the delirium tremens before they are fifty. If 
we could have a society like them, and that sort of thing, 
and agree to be moderate ! Nobody expects young men to 
be old before their time ; but, if they 'd agree not to blow 
out more than once a month, or something in that way ! " 

" I 'm afraid," said Harry, " Master Tom '& too far gone 
for that." 

" 0, ay ! yes ! Pity, pity ! Suppose it is so. Why, 
when a fellow gets so far, he 's like a nigger's old patched 
coat — you can't tell where the real cloth is. Now, Tom ; I 
suppose he never is himself — always up on a wave, or 
down in the trough ! Heigh o ! I 'm sorry ! " 

" It 's very hard on Miss Nina," said Harry. " He inter- 
feres, and I have no power to stand for her. And, yester- 
day, he began talking to my wife in a way I can't bear, nor 
won't ! He must let her alone ! " 

" Sho ! sho ! " said Mr. Gordon. " See what a boy that 
is, now ! That an't in the least worth while — that an't ! 
I shall tell Tom so. And, Harry, mind your temper ! Re- 
member, young men will be young ; and, if a fellow will 
treat himself to a pretty wife, he must expect trials. But 
Tom ought not to do so. I shall tell him. High ! there 
comes Jake, with the basket and the smoke-house key 
Now for something to send down to those poor hobgoblins. 
If people are going to starve, they must n't come on to my 
place to do it. I don't mind what I don't see — I wouldn't 


mind if the whole litter of 'em was drowned to-morrow ; but, 
hang it, I can't stand it if I know it ! So, here, Jake, take 
this ham and bread, and look 'em up an old skillet, and see 
if you can't tinker up the house a bit. I 'd set the fellow 
to work, when he comes back ; only we have two hands to 
every turn, now, and the niggers always plague 'em. Har- 
ry, you go home, and tell Nin All's. G. and I will be over to 



Harry spent the night at the place of Mr. John Gordon, 
and arose the next morning in a very discontented mood of 
mind. Nothing is more vexatious to an active and enter- 
prising person than to be thrown into a state of entire idle- 
ness ; and Harry, after lounging about for a short time in 
the morning, found his indignation increased by every mo- 
ment of enforced absence from the scene of his daily labors 
and interests. Having always enjoyed substantially the 
privileges of a freeman in the ability to regulate his time 
according to his own ideas, to come and go, to buy and 
sell, and transact business unfettered by any felt control, he 
was the more keenly alive to the degradation implied in his 
present position. 

" Here I must skulk around," said he to himself, " like a 
partridge in the bushes, allowing everything to run at loose 
ends, preparing the way for my being found fault with for a 
lazy fellow, by and by ; and all for what ? Because my 
younger brother chooses to come, without right or reason, 
to domineer over me, to insult my wife ; and because the 
laws will protect him in it, if he does it ! Ah ! ah ! that 's 
it. They are all leagued together ! No matter how right I 
am — no matter how bad he is ! Everybody will stand up 
for him, and put me down ; all because my grandmother 
was born in Africa, and his grandmother was born in Amer- 
ica. Confound it all, I won't stand it ! Who knows what 
he '11 be saying and doing to Lisette while I am gone ? I '11 
go back and face him, like a man ! I '11 keep straight about 

DEED. 239 

my business, and, if he crosses me, let him take care ! He 
has n't got but one life, any more than I have. Let him look 
out ! " 

And Harry jumped upon his horse, and turned his head 
homeward. He struck into a circuitous path, which led 
along* that immense belt of swampy land, to which the 
name of Dismal has been given. As he was riding along, 
immersed in thought, the clatter of horses' feet was heard 
in front of him. A sudden turn of the road brought him 
directly facing to Tom Gordon and Mr. Jekyl, who had 
risen early and started off on horseback, in order to reach 
a certain stage-depot before the heat of the day. There 
was a momentary pause on both sides ; when Tom Gordon, 
like one who knows his power, and is determined to use it 
to the utmost, broke out, scornfully : 

" Stop, you damned nigger, and tell your master where 
you. are going ! " 

" You are not my master ! " said Harry, in words whose 
concentrated calmness conveyed more bitterness and wrath 
than could have been given by the most violent outburst. 

"You d d whelp !" said Tom Gordon, striking him 

across the face twice with his whip, "take that, and that! 
We '11 see if I 'm not your master ! There, now, help your- 
self, won't you ? Is n't that a master's mark? " 

It had been the life-long habit of Harry's position to 
repress every emotion of anger within himself. But, at 
this moment, his face wore a deadly and frightful expres- 
sion. Still, there was something majestic and almost com- 
manding in the attitude with which he reined back his 
horse, and slowly lifted his hand to heaven. He tried to 
speak, but his voice was choked with repressed passion. 
At last he said : 

" You may be sure, Mr. Gordon, this mark will never 
be forgotten ! " 

There are moments of high excitement, when all that is in 
a human being seems to be roused, and to concentrate itself 
in the eye and the voice. And, in such moments, any man, 

240 DRED. 

apparently by virtue of his mere humanity, by the mere 
awfulness of the human soul that is in him, gains power to 
over-awe those who in other hours scorn him. There was 
a minute's pause, in which neither spoke ; and Mr. Jekyl, 
who was a man of peace, took occasion to touch Tom's 
elbow, and say : 

" It seems to me this is n't worth while — we shall miss 
the stage." And, as Harry had already turned his horse 
and was riding away, Tom Gordon turned his, shouting 
after him, with a scornful laugh : 

" I called on your wife before I came away, this morning, 
and I liked her rather better the second time than I did the 
first ! " 

This last taunt flew like a Parthian arrow backward, and 
struck into the soul of the bondman with even a keener 
power than the degrading blow. The sting of it seemed to 
rankle more bitterly as he rode along, till at last he dropped 
the reins on his horse's neck, and burst into a transport of 
bitter cursing. 

" Aha ! aha ! it has come nigh thee, has it ? It toucheth 
thee, and thou faintest ! " said a deep voice from the swampy 
thicket beside him. 

Harry stopped his horse and his imprecations. There was 
a crackling in the swamp, and a movement among the copse 
of briers ; and at last the speaker emerged, and stood before 
Harry. He was a tall black man, of magnificent stature 
and proportions. His skin was intensely black, and pol- 
ished like marble. A loose shirt of red flannel, which 
opened very wide at the breast, gave a display of a neck 
and chest of herculean strength. The sleeves of the shirt, 
rolled up nearly to the shoulders, showed the muscles of 
a gladiator. The head, which rose with an imperial air 
from the broad shoulders, was large and massive, and de- 
veloped with equal force both in the reflective and percep- 
tive department. The perceptive organs jutted like dark 
ridges over the eyes, while that part of the head which 
phrenologists attribute to the moral and intellectual senti- 

DRED. 241 

ments,rose like an ample dome above them. The large eyes 
had that peculiar and solemn effect of unfathomable black- 
ness and darkness which is often a striking characteristic 
of the African eye. But there burned in them, like tongues 
of flame in a black pool of naphtha, a subtle and restless fire, 
that betokened habitual excitement to the verge of insanity. 
If any organs were predominant in the head, they were those 
of ideality, wonder, veneration, and firmness : and the whole 
combination was such as might have formed one of the wild 
old warrior prophets of the heroic ages. He wore a fantastic 
sort of turban, apparently of an old scarlet shawl, which 
added to the outlandish effect of his appearance. His nether 
garments, of coarse negro-cloth, were girded round the 
waist by a strip of scarlet flannel, in which was thrust a 
bowie-knife and hatchet. Over one shoulder he carried a 
rifle, and a shot-pouch was suspended to his belt. A rude 
game-bag hung upon his arm. Wild and startling as the 
apparition might have been, it appeared to be no stranger to 
Harry ; for, after the first movement of surprise, he said, in 
a tone of familiar recognition, in which there was blended 
somewhat of awe and respect : 

"0, it is you, then, Dred ! I didn't know that you 
were hearing me ! " 

" Have I not heard ? " said the speaker, raising his arm, 
and his eyes gleaming with wild excitement. " How long 
wilt thou halt between two opinions ? Did not Moses re- 
fuse to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter ? How long 
wilt thou cast in thy lot with the oppressors of Israel, who 
say unto thee, ' Bow down that we may walk over thee ' ? 
Shall not the Red Sea be divided ? ' Yea/ saith the Lord, 
'it shall.'" 

" Dred ! I know what you mean ! " said Harry, trem- 
bling with excitement. 

"Yea, thou dost!" said the figure. "Yea, thou dost! 

Hast thou not eaten the fat and drunk the sweet with the 

oppressor, and hid thine eyes from the oppression of thy 

people ? Have not our wives been for a prey, and thou 


242 DRED. 

hast not regarded ? Ilath not our cheek been given to the 
smiter ? Have we not been counted as sheep for the slaugh- 
ter ? But thou saidst, Lo ! I knew it not, and didst hide 
thine eyes ! Therefore, the curse of Meroz is upon thee, 
saith the Lord. And thou shalt bow down to the oppressor, 
and his rod shall be upon thee ; and thy wife shall be for 
a prey ! " 

" Don't talk in that way ! — don't ! " said Harry, striking 
out his hands with a frantic gesture, as if to push back the 
words. " You are raising the very devil in me ! " 

" Look here, Harry," said the other, dropping from the 
high tone he at first used to that of common conversation, 
and speaking in bitter irony, " did your master strike you ? 
It 's sweef to kiss the rod, is n't it ? Bend your neck and 
ask to be struck again ! — won't you ? Be meek and lowly ; 
that 's the religion for you ! You are a slave, and you wear 
broadcloth, and sleep soft. By and by he will give you a 
fip to buy salve for those cuts ! Don't fret about your wife ! 
Women always like the master better than the slave ! Why 
should n't they ? When a man licks his master's foot, his 
wife scorns him, — serves him right. Take it meekly, my 
boy! ' Servants, obey your masters.' Take your master's 
old coats — take your wife when he 's done with her — and 
bless God that brought you under the light of the Gospel ! 
Go ! you are a slave ! But, as for me," he said, drawing 
up his head, and throwing back his shoulders with a 
deep inspiration, "I am a free man! Free by this," 
holding out his rifle. "Free by the Lord of hosts, that 
numbereth the stars, and calleth them forth by their names. 
Go home — that 's all I have to say to you ! You sleep in a 
curtained bed. — I sleep on the ground, in the swamps ! 
You eat the fat of the land. I have what the ravens bring 
me ! But no man whips me ! — no man touches my wife ! 
— no man says to me, 'Why do ye so ? ' Go ! you are a 
slave! — I am free!" And, with one athletic bound, he 
sprang into the thicket, and was gone. 

The effect of this address on the already excited mind of 

DEED. 243 

the bondman may be better conceived than described. lie 
ground his teeth, and clenched his hands. 

"Stop!" he cried, " Dred, I will — I will — I '11 do as 
you tell me — I will not-be a slave ! " 

A scornful laugh was the only reply, and the sound of 
crackling footsteps retreated rapidly. He who retreated 
struck up, in a clear, loud voice, one of those peculiar mel- 
odies in which vigor and spirit are blended with a wild, in- 
expressible mournfulness. The voice was one of a singular 
and indescribable quality of tone ; it was heavy as the sub- 
bass of an organ, and of a velvety softness, and yet it 
seemed to pierce the air with a keen dividing force which 
is generally characteristic of voices of much less volume. 
The words were the commencement of a wild camp-meeting 
hymn, much in vogue in those parts : 

" Brethren, don't you hear the sound ? 
The martial trumpet now is blowing ; 
Men in order listing round, 

And soldiers to the standard flowing." 

There was a wild, exultant fulness of liberty that rolled in 
the note ; and, to Harry's excited car, there seemed in it a 
fierce challenge of contempt to his imbecility, and his soul 
at that moment seemed to be rent asunder with a pang such 
as only those can know who have felt what it is to be a 
slave. There was an uprising within him, vague, tumult- 
uous, overpowering ; dim instincts, heroic aspirations ; the 
will to do, the soul to dare ; and then, in a moment, there 
followed the picture of all societ} r leagued against him, the 
hopeless impossibility of any outlet to what was burning 
within him. The waters of a nature naturally noble, pent 
up, and without outlet, rolled back upon his heart with a 
suffocating force ; and, in his hasty anguish, he cursed the 
day of his birth. The spasm of his emotion was inter- 
rupted by the sudden appearance of Milly coming along 
the path. 

". Why, bless you, Milly," said Harry, in sudden sur- 
prise, ''■ where are you going ? " 

244 DREB. 

" 0, bless you, honey, chile, I 's gwine on to take de 
stage. Dey wanted to get up de wagon for me ; but, bless 
you, says I, what you s'pose de Lord gin us legs for? I 
never wants no critturs to tug me round, when I can walk 
myself. And, den, honey, it 's so pleasant like, to be a 
walking along in de bush here, in de morning ; 'pears like 
de voice of de Lord is walking among de trees. But, 
bless you, chile, honey, what 's de matter o' yer face ? " 

" It 'a Tom Gordon, d n him ! " said Harry. 

" Don't talk dat ar way, chile ! " said Milly ; using the 
freedom with Harry which her years and weight of charac- 
ter had gradually secured for her among the members of the 

" I will talk that way ! Why should n't I ? I am not 
going to be good any longer." 

" Why, 't won't help de matter to be bad, will it, Harry? 
'Cause you hate Tom Gordon, does you want to act just bike 

" No ! " said Harry, " I won't be like him, but I '11 have 
my revenge ! Old Dred has been talking to me again, this 
morning. He always did stir me up so that I could hardly 
live ; and I won't stand it any longer ! " 

"Chile," said Milly, "you take care! Keep clear on 
him ! He \s in de wilderness of Sinai ; he is with de black- 
ness, and darkness, and tempest. He han't come to de 
heavenly Jerusalem. ! ! honey ! dere 's a blood of 
sprinkling dat speaketh better things dan dat of Abel. 
Jerusalem above is free — is free, honey ; so, don't you 
mind, now, what happens in dis yer time." 

" Ah, ah, Aunt Milly ! this may do well enough for old 
women like you ; but, stand opposite to a young fellow like 
me, with good strong arms, and a pair of doubled fists, and 
a body and soul just as full of fight as they can be ; it don't 
answer to go to telling about a heavenly Jerusalem ! We 
want something here. We '11 have it too ! How do you 
know there is any heaven, any how ? " 

" Know it ? " said Milly, her eye kindling, and striking her 

DEED. 245 

staff on the ground. " Know it ? I knows it by de han- 
kering arfer it I got in here ; " giving her broad chest a 
blow which made it resound like a barrel. " De Lord 
knowed what he was 'bout when he made us. When he 
made babies rooting round, with der poor little mouths 
open, he made milk, and de mammies for 'em too. Chile, 
we 's nothing but great babies, dat an't got our eyes 
opened — rooting round and round ; but de Father '11 feed 
us yet — he will so." 

" He 's a long time about it," said Harry, sullenly. 

" Well, chile, an't it a long time 'fore your corn sprouts — 
a long time 'fore it gets into de ears ? — but you plants, for 
all dat. What 's dat to me what I is here ? — Shan't I reign 
with de Lord Jesus ? " 

" I don't know," said Harry. 

" Well, honey, I does! Jest so sure as I 's standing on 
dis yer ground, I knows in a few years I .shall be reign- 
ing with de Lord Jesus, and a casting my crown at his 
feet. Dat 's what I knows. Flesh and blood did n't reveal 
it unto me, but de Spirit of de Father. It 's no odds to me 
what I does here ; every road leads straight to glory, and 
de glory an't got no end to it ! " And Milly uplifted her 
voice in a favorite stave — 

" When we 've been dere ten thousand years, 
Bright shining like de sun, 
We 've no less days to sing God's praise 
Than when we first begun." 

" Chile," said she to him, solemnly, " I an't a fool. 
Does ye s'pose dat I thinks folks has any business to be 
sitting on der cheers all der life long, and A^orking me, 
and living on my money ? Why, I knows dey han't ! An't 
it all wrong, from fust to last, de way d iy makes merchan- 
dise o' us ! Why, I knows it is : but I 's still about it, for 
de Lord's sake. I don't work for Miss Loo — I works for de 
Lord Jesus ; and he is good pay — no mistake, now I tell 


246 DEED. 

"Well," said Harry, a little shaken, but not convinced, 
"after all, there isn't much use in trying to do any other 
way. But you 're lucky in feeling so, Aunt Milly ; but I 

" Well, chile, any way, don't you do nothing rash, and 
don't you hear him. Dat ar way out is through seas of 
blood. Why, chile, would you turn against Miss Nina ? 
Chile, if they get a going, they won't spare nobody. Don't 
you start up dat ar tiger ; 'cause, I tell ye, ye can't chain 
him, if ye do ! " 

" Yes," said Harry, " I see it's all madness, perfect mad- 
ness ; there 's no use thinking, no use talking. Well, good- 
morning, Aunt Milly. Peace go with you ! " And the 
young man started his horse, and was soon out of sight. 



We owe our readers now some words of explanation 
respecting- the new personage who has been introduced into 
our history ; therefore we must go back somewhat, and 
allude to certain historical events of painful significance. 

It has been a problem to many, how the system of slavery 
in America should unite the two apparent inconsistencies 
of a code of slave-laws more severe than that of any other 
civilized nation, with an average practice at least as indul- 
gent as any other ; for, bad as slavery is at the best, it may 
yet be admitted that the practice, as a whole, has been, 
less cruel in this country than in many. An examination 
into history will show us that the cruelty of the laws 
resulted from the effects of indulgent practice. During 
the first years of importation of slaves into South Carolina, 
they enjoyed many privileges. Those who lived in intelligent 
families, and had any desire to learn, were instructed in 
reading and writing. Liberty was given them to meet in 
assemblies of worship, in class-meetings, and otherwise, 
without the presence of white witnesses ; and many were 
raised to situations of trust and consequence. The result 
of this was the development of a good degree of intelligence 
and manliness among the slaves. There arose among them 
grave, thoughtful, energetic men, with their ears and eyes 
open, and their minds constantly awake to compare and 

"WTien minds come into this state, in a government pro- 
fessing to be founded on principles of universal equality, it 


follows that almost every public speech, document, or 
newspaper, becomes an incendiary publication. 

Of this fact the southern slave states have ever exhibited 
the most singular unconsciousness. Documents containing 
sentiments most dangerous for slaves to hear have been 
publicly read and applauded among them. The slave has 
heard, amid shouts, on the Fourth of July, that his masters 
held the truth to be self-evident, that all men were ^zorn 
equal, and had an inalienable right to life, liberty, and the 
pursuit of happiness ; and that all governments derive their 
just power from the consent of the governed. Even the 
mottoes of newspapers have embodied sentiments of the 
most insurrectionary character. 

Such inscriptions as " Resistance to tyrants is obedience 
to God" stand, to this day, in large letters, at the head of 
southern newspapers ; while speeches of senators and public 
men, in which the principles of universal democracy are 
asserted, are constant matters of discussion. Under such 
circumstances, it is difficult to induce the servant, who feels 
that he is a man, to draw those lines which seem so obvious 
to masters, by whom this fact has been forgotten. Accord- 
ingly we find that when the discussions for the admission of 
Missouri as a slave state produced a wave whose waters 
undulated in every part of the Union, there were found 
among the slaves men of unusual thought and vigor, who 
were no inattentive witnesses and listeners. The discus- 
sions were printed in the newspapers ; and what was 
printed in the newspapers was further discussed at the 
post-office door, in the tavern, in the bar-room, at the dinner- 
party, where black servants were listening behind the 
chairs. A free colored man in the city of Charleston, 
named Denmark Vesey, was the one who had the hardihood 
to seek to use the electric fluid in the cloud thus accu- 
mulated. He conceived the hopeless project of imitating 
the example set by the American race, and achieving inde- 
pendence for the blacks. 

Our knowledge of this man is derived entirely from the 


printed reports of the magistrates who gave an account of 
the insurrection, of which he was the instigator, and who 
will not, of course, be supposed to be unduly prejudiced 
in his favor. They state that he was first brought to 
the country by one Captain Vesey, a young lad, distin- 
guished for personal beauty and great intelligence, and that 
he proved, for twenty years, a most faithful slave ; but, on 
drawing a prize of fifteen hundred dollars in the lottery, he 
purchased his freedom of his master, and worked as a car- 
penter in the city of Charleston. He was distinguished for 
strength and activity, and, as the accounts state, maintained 
such an irreproachable character, and enjoyed so much the 
confidence of the whites, that when he was aecused, the 
charge was not only discredited, but he was not even 
arrested for several days after, and not till the proof of his 
guilt had become too strong to be doubted. His historians 
go on, with considerable naivete, to remark : 

" It is difficult to conceive ivhat motive he had to enter into 
" such a plot, unless it was the one mentioned by one of the 
" witnesses, who said that Vesey had several children who 
" were slaves, and that he said, on one occasion, he wished he 
" could see them free, as he himself artfully remarked in his 
" defence on his trial." 

It appears that the project of rousing and animating the 
blacks to this enterprise occupied the mind of Vesey for 
more than four years, during which time he was continually 
taking opportunities to animate and inspire the spirits of his 
countrymen. The account states that the speeches in Con- 
gress of those opposed to the admission of Missouri into the 
Union, perhaps garbled and misrepresented, furnished him 
with ample means for inflaming the minds of the colored 

" Even while walking in the street," the account goes on 
to say, " he was not idle ; for, if his companion bowed to a 
" white person, as slaves universally do, he would rebuke him, 
" and observe, ' that all men were born equal, and that he 
" was surprised that any one would degrade himself by 


' such conduct ; that he would never cringe to the whites ; 
' nor ought any one to, who had the feelings of a man.' * 
'When answered, 'We are slaves, 7 he would say, sar- 
' castically and indignantly, ' You deserve to remain 
' slaves ! ' And, if he were further asked, ' What can we 
' do ? ' he would remark, ' Go and buy a spelling-book, and 
' read the fable of " Hercules and the Wagoner." ' He also 
' sought every opportunity of entering into conversation 
' with white persons, during which conversation he would 
' artfully introduce some bold remark on slavery ; and some- 
' times, when, from the character he was conversing with, 
' he found he might be still bolder, he would go so far that, 
' had not his declarations been clearly proved, they would 
' scarcely have been credited." 

But his great instrument of influence was a book that has 
always been prolific of insurrectionary movements, under 
all systems of despotism. 

"He rendered himself perfectly familiar with all those 
" parts of Scripture which he thought he could pervert to 
" his purpose, and would readily quote them to prove that 
" slavery was contrary to the laws of God, and that slaves 
" were bound to attempt their emancipation, however shock- 
" ing and bloody might be the consequences ; that such 
" efforts would not only be pleasing to the Almighty, but 
" were absolutely enjoined." 

Vesey, in the course of time, associated with himself 
five slave-men of marked character — Rolla, Ned, Peter, 
Monday, and Gullah Jack. Of these, the account goes on 
to say : 

" In the selection of his leaders, Vesey showed great pen- 
" etration and sound judgment. Rolla was plausible, and 
" possessed uncommon self-possession ; bold and ardent, he 
" was not to be deterred from his purpose by danger. 
" Ned's appearance indicated that he was a man of firm 
" nerves and desperate courage. Peter was intrepid and 

* These extracts are taken from the official report. 


" resolute, true to his engagements, and cautious in observ- 
" ing secrecy where it was necessary ; he was not to be 
" daunted nor impeded by difficulties, and, though confident 
" of success, was careful in providing against any obstacles 
" or casualties which might arise, and intent upon discov- 
" ering every means which might be in their power, if 
" thought of beforehand. Gullah Jack was regarded as a 
" sorcerer, and, as such, feared by the natives of Africa, 
" who believe in witchcraft. He was not only considered 
"invulnerable, but that he could make others so by his 
" charms, and that he could, and certainly would, provide 
" all his followers with arms. He was artful, cruel, bloody ; 
" his disposition, in short, was diabolical. His influence 
" among the Africans was inconceivable. Monday was firm, 
"resolute, discreet, and intelligent." 

" It is a melancholy truth that the general good conduct 
" of all the leaders, except Gullah Jack, was such as ren- 
" dered them objects least liable to suspicion. Their con- 
" duct had secured them, not only the unlimited confidence 
" of their owners, but they had been indulged in every com- 
" fort, and allowed every privilege compatible with their 
" situation in the community ; and, though Gullah Jack was 
" not remarkable for the correctness of his deportment, he 
" by no means sustained a bad character. But," adds the 
report, "not only were the leaders of good character, and 
" very much indulged by their owners, but this was very 
" generally the case with all who were convicted, many of 
" them possessing the highest confidence of their owners, 
" and not one a bad character." 

" The conduct and behavior of Vesey and his five leaders 
" during their trial and imprisonment may be interesting 
" to many. When Vesey was tried, he folded his arms, and 
" seemed to pay great attention to the testimony given 
" against him, but with his eyes fixed on the floor. In this 
" situation he remained immovable until the witnesses had 
" been examined by the court, and cross-examined by his 
"counsel, when he requested to be allowed to examine the 


witnesses himself, which he did: The evidence being 
closed, he addressed the court at considerable length. 
When he received his sentence, tears trickled down his 

" Rolla, when arraigned, affected not to understand the 
charge against him ; and when, at his request, it was ex- 
plained to him, assumed, with wonderful adroitness, as- 
tonishment and surprise. He was remarkable throughout 
his trial for composure and great presence of mind. 
When he was informed that he was convicted, and was 
advised to prepare for death, he appeared perfectly con- 
founded, but exhibited no signs of fear. 
" In Ned's behavior there was nothing remarkable. His 
countenance was stern and immovable, even while he was 
receiving sentence of death. From his looks it was im- 
possible to discover or conjecture what were his feelings. 
Not so with Peter Poyes. In his countenance were 
strongly marked disappointed ambition, revenge, indigna- 
tion, and an anxiety to know how far the discoveries had 
extended. He did not appear to fear personal conse- 
quences, for his whole behavior indicated the reverse, but 
exhibited an evident anxiety for the success of their plan, 
in which his whole soul was embarked. His countenance 
and behavior were the same when he received his sen- 
tence, and h_s only words were, on retiring, ' I suppose 
you '11 let me see my wife and family before I die/ and 
that in no supplicating tone. When he was asked, a day or 
two after, ' If it was possible that he could see his master 
and family murdered, who had treated him so kindly ? ' 
he replied to the question only by a smile. In their prison, 
the convicts resolutely refused to make any confessions or 
communications which might implicate others ; and Peter 
Poyes sternly enjoined it upon them to maintain this silence 
— ' Do not open your lips ; die silent, as you will see me do ! ' 
and in this- resolute silence they met their fate. Twenty- 
two of the conspirators were executed upon one gal- 


The account says, " That Peter Poyes was one of the most 
" active of the recruiting agents. All the principal con- 
" spirators kept a list of those who had consented to join 
" them, and Peter was said, by one of the witnesses, to 
" have had six hundred names on his list ; but, so resolutely 
" to the last did he observe his pleclge of secrecy to his 
" associates, that, of the whole number arrested and tried, 
" not one of them belonged to his company. In fact, in an 
" insurrection in which thousands of persons were supposed 
" to have been implicated, only thirty-six were convicted." 

Among the children of Denmark Vesey was a boy by a 
Mandingo slave-woman, who was his father's particular 
favorite. The Mandingos are one of the finest of African 
tribes, distinguished for intelligence, beauty of form, and an 
indomitable pride and energy of nature. As slaves, they 
are considered particularly valuable by those who have tact 
enough to govern them, because of their great capability 
and their proud faithfulness ; but they resent a government 
of brute force, and under such are always fractious and 
dangerous. , 

This boy received from his mother the name of Dred ; a 
name not unusual among the slaves, and generally given to 
those of great physical force. 

The development of this child's mind was so uncommon 
as to excite astonishment among the negroes. He early 
acquired the power of reading, by an apparent instinctive 
faculty, and would often astonish those around him Avith 
things which he had discovered in books. Like other chil- 
dren of a deep and fervent nature, he developed great reli- 
gious ardor, and often surprised the older negroes by his 
questions and replies on this subject. A son so endowed 
could not but be an object of great pride and interest to a 
father like Denmark Vesey. The impression seemed to pre- 
vail universally among the negroes that this child was born 
for extraordinary things ; and perhaps it was the yearning 
to acquire liberty for the development of such a mind which 
first led Denmark Vesey to reflect on the nature of slavery, 


and the terrible weights which it lays on the human intel- 
lect, and to conceive the project of liberating a race. 

The Bible, of which Vesey was an incessant reader, 
stimulated this desire. He likened his own position of com- 
parative education, competence, and general esteem among 
the whites, to that of Moses among the Egyptians ; and 
nourished the idea that, like Moses, he was sent as a deliv- 
erer. During the process of the conspiracy, this son, 
though but ten years of age, was his father's confidant ; and 
he often charged him, though he should fail in the attempt, 
never to be discouraged. He impressed it upon his mind 
that he should never submit tamely to the yoke of slavery ; 
and nourished the idea already impressed, that some more 
than ordinary destiny was reserved for him. After the 
discovery of the plot, and the execution of its leaders, 
those more immediately connected with them were sold 
from the state, even though not proved to have par- 
ticipated. With the most guarded caution, Vesey had ex- 
empted this son from suspicion. It had been an agreed 
policy with them both, that in the presence of others they 
should counterfeit alienation and dislike. Their confidential 
meetings with each other had been stolen and secret. At 
the time of his father's execution, Dred was a lad of four- 
teen. He could not be admitted to his father's prison, but 
he was a witness of the undaunted aspect with which he 
and the other conspirators met their doom. The memory 
dropped into the depths of his soul, as a stone drops into 
the desolate depths of a dark mountain lake. 

Sold to a distant plantation, he became noted for his des- 
perate, unsubduable disposition. He joined in none of the 
social recreations and amusements of the slaves, labored 
with proud and silent assiduity, but, on the slightest rebuke 
or threat, flashed up with a savage fierceness, which, sup- 
ported by his immense bodily strength, made him an object 
of dread among overseers. He was one of those of whom 
they gladly rid themselves ; and, like a fractious horse, was 
sold from master to master. Finally, an overseer, hardier 


than the rest, determined on the task of subduing him. In 
the scuffle that ensued Dred struck him to the earth, a dead 
man, made his escape to the swamps, and was never after- 
wards heard of in civilized life. 

The reader who consults the map will discover that the 
whole eastern shore of the Southern States, with slight 
interruptions, is belted by an immense chain of swamps, 
regions of hopeless disorder, where the abundant growth 
and vegetation of nature, sucking up its forces from the 
humid soil, seems to rejoice in a savage exuberance, and 
bid defiance to all human efforts either to penetrate or 
subdue. These wild regions are the homes of the alligator, 
the mocassin, and the rattle-snake. Evergreen trees, min- 
gling freely with the deciduous children of the forest, form 
here dense jungles, verdant all the year round, and which 
afford shelter to numberless birds, with whose warbling the 
leafy desolation perpetually resounds. Climbing vines, and 
parasitic plants, of untold splendor and boundless exuber- 
ance of growth, twine and interlace, and hang from the 
heights of the highest trees pennons of gold and purple, 

— triumphant banners, which attest the solitary majesty of 
nature. A species of parasitic moss wreaths its abundant 
draperies from tree to tree, and hangs in pearly festoons, 
through which shine the scarlet berry and green leaves of 
the American holly. 

What the mountains of Switzerland were to the perse- 
cuted Vaudois, this swampy belt has been to the American 
slave. The constant effort to recover from thence fugi- 
tives has led to the adoption, in these states, of a separate 
profession, unknown at this time in any other Christian land 

— hunters, who train and keep dogs for the hunting of men, 
women, and children. And yet, with all the convenience of 
this profession, the reclaiming of the fugitives from these 
fastnesses of nature has been a work of such expense and 
difficulty, that the near proximity of the swamp has always 
been a considerable check on the otherwise absolute power 
of the overseer. Dred carried with him to the swamp but 


one solitary companion — the Bible of his father. To him 
it was not the messenger of peace and good-will, but the 
herald of woe and wrath ! 

As the mind, looking on the great volume of nature, sees 
there a reflection of its own internal passions, and seizes on 
that in it which sympathizes with itself, — as the fierce and 
savage soul delights in the roar of torrents, the thunder of 
avalanches, and the whirl of ocean-storms, — so is it in the 
great answering volume of revelation. There is something 
there for every phase of man's nature ; and hence its end- 
less vitality and stimulating force. Dred had heard read, 
in the secret meetings of conspirators, the wrathful de- 
nunciations of ancient prophets against oppression and 
injustice. He had read of kingdoms convulsed by plagues ; 
of tempest, and pestilence, and locusts ; of the sea cleft in 
twain, that an army of slaves might pass through, and of 
their pursuers whelmed in the returning waters. He had 
heard of prophets and deliverers, armed with supernatural 
powers, raised up for oppressed people ; had pondered on 
the nail of Jael, the goad of Sham gar, the pitcher and lamp 
of Gideon ; and thrilled with fierce joy as he read how Sam- 
son, with his two strong arms, pulled down the pillars of the 
festive temple, and whelmed his triumphant persecutors in 
one grave with himself. 

In the vast, solitudes which he daily traversed, these 
things entered deep into his soul. Cut off from all human 
companionship, often going weeks without seeing a human 
face, there was no recurrence of every-day and prosaic ideas 
to check the current of the enthusiasm thus kindled. Even 
in the soil of the cool Saxon heart the Bible has thrown out 
its roots with an all-pervading energy, so that the whole 
frame-work of society may be said to rest on soil held 
together by its fibres. Even in cold and misty England, 
armies have been made defiant and invincible by the in- 
comparable force and deliberate valor which it breathes into 
men. But, when this oriental seed, an exotic among us, is 


planted back in the fiery soil of a tropical heart, it bursts 
forth with an incalculable ardor of growth. 

A stranger cannot fail to remark the fact that, though the 
slaves of the South are unable to read the Bible for them- 
selves, yet most completely have its language and sentiment 
penetrated among them, giving a Hebraistic coloring to 
their habitual mode of expression. How much greater, 
then, must have been the force of the solitary perusal of 
this volume on so impassioned a nature ! — a nature, too, 
kindled by memories of the self-sacrificing ardor with which 
a father and his associates had met death at the call of free- 
dom ; for, none of us may deny that, wild and hopeless as 
this scaeme was, it was still the same in kind with the more 
successful one which purchased for our fathers a national 

A mind of the most passionate energy and vehemence, 
thus awakened, for years made the wild solitudes of the 
swamp its home. That book, so full of startling symbols 
and vague images, had for him no interpreter but the silent 
courses of nature. His life passed in a kind of dream. 
Sometimes, traversing for weeks these desolate regions, he 
would compare himself to Elijah traversing for forty days 
and nights the solitudes of Horeb ; or to John the Baptist 
in the wilderness, girding himself with camel's hair, and 
eating locusts and wild honey. Sometimes he would fast, 
and pray for days ; and then voices would seem to speak 
to him, and strange hieroglyphics would be written upon 
the leaves. In less elevated moods of mind, he would pur- 
sue, with great judgment and vigor, those enterprises neces- 
sary to preserve existence. The negroes lying out in the 
swamps are not so wholly cut off from society as might at 
first be imagined. The slaves of all the adjoining plantations, 
whatever they may pretend, to secure the good-will of their 
owners, are at heart secretly disposed, from motives both of 
compassion and policy, to favor the fugitives. They very 
readily perceive that, in the event of any difficulty occurring 
to themselves, it might be quite necessary to have a friend 


and protector in the swamp ; and therefore they do not 
hesitate to supply these fugitives, so far as they are able, 
with anything which they may desire. The poor whites, 
also, who keep small shops in the neighborhood of planta- 
tions, are never particularly scrupulous, provided they can 
turn a penny to their own advantage ; and willingly sup- 
ply necessary wares in exchange for game, with which the 
swamp, abounds. 

Dred, therefore, came in possession of an excellent rifle, 
and never wanted for ammunition, which supplied him with 
an abundance of food. Besides this, there are here and 
there elevated spots in the swampy land, which, by iudicious 
culture, are capable of great productiveness. And many 
such spots Dred had brought under cultivation, either with 
his own hands, or from those of other fugitives, whom he 
had received and protected. From the restlessness of 
his nature, he had not confined himself to any particular 
region, but had traversed the whole swampy belt of both 
the Carolinas, as well as that of Southern Virginia ; residing 
a few months in one place, and a few months in another. 
Wherever he stopped, he formed a sort of retreat, where he 
received and harbored fugitives. On one occasion, he res- 
cued a trembling and bleeding mulatto woman from the 
dogs of the hunters, who had pursued her into the swamp. 
This woman he made his wife, and appeared to entertain a 
very deep affection for her. He made a retreat for her, with 
more than common ingenuity, in the swamp adjoining the 
Gordon plantation ; and, after that, he was more especially 
known in that locality. He had fixed his eye upon Harry, 
as a person whose ability, address, and strength of charac- 
ter, might make him at some day a leader in a conspiracy 
against the whites. Harry, in common with many of the 
slaves on the Gordon plantation, knew perfectly well of the 
presence of Dred in the neighborhood, and had often seen 
and conversed with him. But neither he nor any of the 
rest of them ever betrayed before any white person the 
slightest knowledge of the fact. 


This ability of profound secrecy is one of the invaria- 
ble attendants of a life of slavery. Harry was acute 
enough to know that his position was by no means so se- 
cure that he could afford to dispense with anything- which 
might prove an assistance in some future emergency. The 
low white traders in the neighborhood also knew Dred well ; 
but, as long as they could drive an advantageous trade with 
him, he was secure from their intervention. So secure had 
he been, that he had been even known to mingle in the 
motley throng of a camp-meeting unmolested. Thus much 
with regard to one who is to appear often on the stage 
before our history is done. 



In the course of a few clays the family circle at Canema was 
enlarged by the arrival of Clayton's sister ; and Carson, in 
excellent spirits, had started for a Northern watering-place. 
Tn answer to Nina's letter of invitation, Anne had come 
with her father, who was called to that vicinity by the duties 
of his profession. Nina received her with her usual gay 
frankness of manner ; and Anne, like many others, soon 
found herself liking her future sister much better than she 
had expected. Perhaps, bad Nina been in any other situa- 
tion than that of hostess, her pride might have led her to 
decline making the agreeable to Anne, whom, notwithstand- 
ing, she very much wished to please. But she was mistress 
of the mansion, and had an Arab's idea of the privileges of 
a guest ; and so she chatted, sang, and played, for her ; she 
took her about, showed her the walks, the arbors, the flower- 
garden ; waited on her in her own apartment, with a thou- 
sand little attentions, all the more fascinating from the kind 
of careless independence with which they were rendered. 
Besides, Nina had vowed a wicked little vow in her heart 
that she would ride rough-shod over Anne's dignity ; that 
she would n't let her be grave or sensible, but that she 
should laugh and frolic with her. And Clayton could scarce 
help smiling at the success that soon crowned her exer- 
tions. Nina's gayety, when in full tide, had a breezy infec- 
tiousness in it, that seemed to stir up every one about her, 
and cany them on the tide of her own spirits ; and Anne, 
in her company, soon found herself laughing at everything 
and nothing, simply because she felt gay. 


To crown all, Uncle John Gordon arrived, with his cheery, 
jovial face ; and he was one of those fearless, hit-or-raiss 
talkers, that are invaluable in social dilemmas, because they 
keep something or other all the while in motion. 

With him came Madam Gordon, or, as Nina commonly 
called her, Aunt Maria. She was a portly, finely-formed, 
middle-aged woman, who might have been handsome, had 
not the lines of care and nervous anxiety ploughed them- 
selves so deeply in her face. Her bright, keen, hazel eyes, 
fine teeth, and the breadth of her ample form, attested the 
vitality of the old Virginia stock from whence she sprung. 

" There,'' said Nina, to Anne Clayton, as they sat in the 
shady side of the veranda, "I've marshalled Aunt Maria 
up into Aunt Nesbit's room, and there they will have a 
comfortable dish of lamentation over me." 

" Over you ? " said Anne. 

" Yes — over me, to be sure ! — that 's the usual order of 
exercises. Such a setting down as I shall get! They'll 
count up on their fingers all the things i ought to know and 
don't, and ought to do and can't. I believe that 's the way 
relatives always show their affection — aunts in particular 
— by mourning over you." 

" And what sort of a list will they make out ? " said 

" 0, bless me, that 's easy enough. Why, there 's Aunt 
Maria, is a perfectly virulent housekeeper — really insane, 
I believe, on that subject. Why, she chases up every rat 
and mouse and cockroach, every particle of dust, every 
scrap of litter. She divides her hours, and is as punctual 
as a clock. She rules her household with a rod of iron, and 
makes everybody stand round ; and tells each one how 
many times a day they may wink. She keeps accounts 
like a very dragon, and always is sure to pounce on any- 
body that is in the least out of the way. She cuts out 
clothes by the bale ; she sews, and she knits, and she 
jingles keys. And all this kind of bustle she calls house- 
keeping ! Now, what do you suppose she must think of 


me, who just put on my hat in the morning, and go sailing 
down the walks, looking at the flowers, till Aunt Katy calls 
me back, to know what my orders are for the day ? " 

" Pray, who is Aunt Katy ? " said Anne. 

" 0, she is my female prime minister ; and she is very 
much like some prime ministers I have studied about in 
history, who always contrive to have their own way, let 
what will come. Now, when Aunt Katy comes and wants to 
know, so respectfully, ' What Miss Nina is going to have for 
dinner/ do you suppose she has the least expectation of get- 
ting anything that I order ? She always has fifty objections 
to anything that I propose. For sometimes the fit comes 
over me to try to be liousekeepy, like Aunt Maria ; but it 's 
no go, I can tell you. So, when she has proved that every- 
thing that I propose is the height of absurdity, and shown 
conclusively that there 's nothing fit to be eaten in the 
neighborhood, by that time I am reduced to a proper state 
of mind. And, when I humbly say, 'Aunt Katy, what 
shall we do ? 7 then she gives a little cough, and out comes 
the whole program, just as she had arranged it the night 
before. And so it goes. As to accounts, why, Harry has 
to look after them. I detest everything about money, ex- 
cept the spending of it — I have rather a talent for that. 
Now, just think how awfully all this must impress poor 
Aunt Maria ! What sighings, and rollings up of eyes, and 
shakings of heads, there are over me ! And, then, Aunt 
Nesbit is always dinging at me about improving my mind ! 
And improving my mind means reading some horrid, stupid, 
boring old book, just as she does ! Now, I like the idea of 
improving my mind. I am sure it wants improving, bad 
enough ; but, then, I can't heljD thinking that racing through 
the garden, and cantering through the woods, improves it 
faster than getting asleep over books. It seems to me that 
books are just like dry hay — very good when there is n't 
any fresh grass to be had. But I 'd rather be out and eat 
what's growing. Now, what people call nature never bores 
me ; but almost every book I ever saw does. Don't you 


think people are made differently ? Some like books, and 
some like things ; don't you think so ? '' 

" I can give you a good fact on your side of the argu- 
ment/' said Clayton, who had come up behind them during 
the conversation. 

" I did n't know I was arguing : but I shall be glad to 
have anything on my side," said Nina, " of course." 

"Well, then," said Clayton, "I'll say that the books 
that have influenced the world the longest, the widest, and 
deepest, have been written by men who attended to things 
more than to books ; who, as you say, eat what was grow- 
ing, instead of dry hay. Homer could n't have had much 
to read in his time, nor the poets of the Bible ; and they 
have been fountains for all ages. I don't believe Shaks- 
peare was much of a reader." 

" Well, but," said Anne, " don't you think that, for us 
common folks, who are not going to be either Homers or 
Shakspeares, that it 's best to have two strings to our bow, 
and to gain instruction both from books and things ? " 

"To be sure," said Clayton, "if we only use books 
aright. With many people, reading is only a form of mental 
indolence, by which they escape the labor of thinking for 
themselves. Some persons are like Pharaoh's lean kine ; 
they swallow book upon book, but remain as lean as 

"My grandfather used to say," said Anne, "that the 
Bible and Shakspeare were enough for a woman's library." 

" Well," said Nina, " I don't like Shakspeare, there ! 
I'm coming out fiat with it. In the first place, I don't 
understand half he says ; and, then, they talk about his being 
so very natural ! I 'm sure I never heard people talk as he 
makes them. Now, did you ever hear people talk in blank 
verse, with every now and then one or two lines of rhyme, 
as his characters do when they go off in long speeches ? 
Now, did you ? " 

"As to that," said Clayton, "it's about half and half. 
His conversations have just about the same resemblance to 


real life that acting at the opera has. It is not natural for 
Norma to burst into a song when she discovers the treach- 
ery of her husband. You make that concession to the 
nature of the opera, in the first place ; and then, with that 
reserve, all the rest strikes you as natural, and the music 
gives an added charm to it. So, in Shakspeare, you 
concede that the plays are to be poems, and that the people 
are to talk in rhythm, and with all the exaltation of poetic 
sentiment ; and, that being admitted, their conversations 
may seem natural." 

" But I can't understand a great deal that Shakspeare 
says," said Nina. 

" Because so many words and usages are altered since 
he wrote," said Clayton. " Because there are so many allu- 
sions to incidents that have passed, and customs that have 
perished, that you have, as it were, to acquire his language 
before you can understand him. Suppose a poem were 
written in a foreign tongue ; you could n't say whether you 
liked it or disliked it till you could read the language. Now, 
my opinion is, that there is a liking for Shakspeare hidden 
in your nature, like a seed that has not sprouted." 

" What makes you think so ? " 

" 0, I see it in you, just as a sculptor sees a statue in a 
block of marble." 

" And are you going to chisel it out? " said Nina. 

"With your leave," said Clayton. "After all, I like 
your sincerity in saying what you do think. I have often 
heard ladies profess an admiration for Shakspeare that I 
knew could n't be real. I knew that they had neither the 
experience of life, nor the insight into human nature, really 
to appreciate what is in him ; and that their liking for him 
was all a worked-up affair, because they felt it would be 
very shocking not to like him." 

" Well," said Nina, " I 'm much obliged to you for all 
the sense you find in my nonsense. I believe I shall keep 
you to translate my fooleries into good English." 


" You know I 'm quite at your disposal," said Clayton, 
" for that or anything else." 

At this moment the attention of Nina was attracted by 
loud exclamations from that side of the house where the 
negro cottages were situated. 

" Get along off! don't want none o' yo old trash here! 
No, no, Miss Nina don't want none o' yo old fish ! She 's 
got plenty of niggers to ketch her own fish." 

" Somebody taking my name in vain in those regions," 
said Nina, running to the other end of the veranda. 
" Tomtit," she said to that young worthy, who lay flat on 
his back, kicking up his heels in the sun, waiting for his 
knives to clean themselves, " pray tell me what 's going 
on there ! " 

" Laws, missis," said Tom, " it 's just one of dese yer 
poor white trash, coming round here trying to sell one thing 
o' nother. Miss Loo says it won't do 'courage 'em, and I ; s 
de same 'pinion." 

" Send him round'here to me," said Nina, who, partly 
from humanity, and partly from a spirit of contradiction, 
had determined to take up for the poor white folks, on all 
occasions. Tomtit ran accordingly, and soon brought to 
the veranda a man whose wretchedly tattered clothing 
scarcely formed a decent covering. His cheeks were sunken 
and hollow, and he stood before Nina with a cringing, half- 
ashamed attitude ; and yet one might see that, with better 
dress and better keeping, he might be made to assume the 
appearance of a handsome, intelligent man. " What do 
you ask for your fish ? " she said to him. 

" Anything ye pleases ! " 

"Where do you live?" said Nina, drawing out her 

" My folks 's staying on Mr. Gordon's place." 

" Why don't you get a place of your own to stay on ? " 
said Nina 

There was an impatient glance flashed from the man's 


eye, but it gave place immediately to his habitual cowed 
expression, as he said, 

"Can't get work — can't get money — can't get noth- 

" Dear me," said her Uncle John, who had been standing 
for a moment listening to the conversation. " This must 
be husband of that poor hobgoblin that has lighted 
down on my place lately. Well, you may as well pay him 
a good price for his fish. Keep them from starving one day 
longer, may be." And Nina paid the man a liberal sum, and 
dismissed him. 

" I suppose, now, all my eloquence would n't make Rose 
cook those fish for dinner," said Nina. 

" Why not, if you told her to ? " said Aunt Maria, who 
had also descended to the veranda. 

" Why not ? — Just because, as she would say, she had n't 
laid out to do it." 

"That's not the way my servants are taught to do ! " 
said Aunt Maria. 

"I'll warrant not," said Nina. "But yours and mine 
are quite different affairs, aunt. They all do as they have 
a mind to, in my ' diggings.' All I stipulate for is a little 
of the same privilege." 

" That man's wife and children have come and 'squatted' 
down on my place," said Mr. Gordon, laughing; " and so, 
Nin, all you paid for his fish is just so much saving to me." 

" Yes, to be sure ! Mr. Gordon is just one of those men 
that will have a tribe of shiftless hangers on at his heels ! " 
said Mrs. Gordon. 

" Well, bless my soul ! what 's a fellow to do ? Can't 
see the poor heathen starve, can we ? If society could only 
be organized over, now, there would be hope for them. The 
brain ought to control the hands ; but among us the hands 
try to set up for themselves ; — and see what comes of it ! " 

" Who do you mean by brain ? " said Nina. 

" Who ? — Why, we upper crust, to be sure ! We educated 
people ! We ought to have an absolute sway over the work- 


ing classes, just as the brain rules the hand. It must come 
to that, at last — no other arrangement is possible. The 
white working classes can't take care of themselves, and 
must be put into a condition for us to take care of them. 
What is liberty to them ? — ■ Only a name — liberty to be 
hungry and naked, that 's all. It 's the strangest thing in 
the world, bow people stick to names ! I suppose that fel- 
low, up there, would flare up terribly at being put in with 
my niggers ; and yet he and his children are glad of the 
crumbs that fall from their table ! It 's astonishing to me 
how, with such examples before them, any decent man can 
be so stone blind as to run a tilt against slavery. Just 
compare the free working classes with our slaves ! Dear 
me ! the blindness of people in this world ! It 's too much 
for my patience, particularly in hot weather ! " said Mr. 
John, wiping his face with a white pocket-handkerchief. 

" Well, but, Uncle John," said Nina, " my dear old gen- 
tleman, you have n't travelled, as I have." 

" No, child ! I thank the Lord I never stepped my foot 
out of a slave state, and I never mean to," said Uncle 

" But you ought to see the northern working people," 
said Nina. " Why, the Governors of the States are farmers, 
sometimes, and work with their own men. The brain and the 
hand go together, in each one — not one great brain to fifty 
pair of hands. And, I tell you, work is done up there very 
differently from what 's done here ! Just look at our ploughs 
and our hoes ! — the most ridiculous things that I ever saw. 
I should think one of them would weigh ten pounds ! " 

" Well, if you don't have 'em heavy enough to go into 
the ground by their own weight, these cussed lazy nigs 
won't do anything with them. They 'd break a dozen Yan- 
kee hoes in a forenoon," said Uncle John. 

" Now," said Nina, " Uncle John, you dear old heathen, 
you ! do let me tell you a little how it is there. I went up 
into New Hampshire, once, with Livy Ray, to spend a vaca- 
tion. Livy's father is a farmer ; works part of every day 


with his own men ; hoes, digs, plants ; but he is Governor 
of the State. He has a splendid farm — all in first-rate 
order ; and his sons, with two or three hired men, keep it in 
better condition than our places ever saw. Mr. Ray is a 
man who reads a great deal ; has a fine library, and he 's as 
much of a gentleman as you '11 often see. There are no 
high and low classes there. Everybody works ; and every- 
body seems to have a good time. Livy's mother has a 
beautiful dairy, spring house, and two strong women to 
help her ; and everything in the house looks beautifully ; 
and, for the greater part of the day, the house seems so 
neat and still, you would n't know anything had been done 
in it. Seems to me this is better than making slaves of 
all the working classes, or having any working classes 
at all." 

" How wise young ladies always are ! " said Uncle John. 
" Undoubtedly the millennium is begun in New Hampshire ! 
But, pray, my dear, what part do young ladies take in all 
this ? Seems to me, Nin, you have n't picked up much of 
this improvement in person." 

" 0, as to that, I labor in my vocation," said Nina ; " that 
is, of enlightening dull, sleepy old gentlemen, who never 
travelled out of the state they were born in, and don't know 
what can be done. I come as a missionary to them ; I 'm 
sure that 's work enough for one." 

" Well," said Aunt Maria, " I know I am as great a 
slave as any of the poor whites, or negroes either. There 
is n't a soul in my whole troop that pretends to take any 
care, except me, either about themselves or their children, 
or anything else." 

" I hope that is n't a slant at me ! " said Uncle John, 
shrugging his shoulders. 

" I must say you are as bad as any of them," said Aunt 

" There it goes ! — now I 'm getting it ! " said Uncle 
John. " I declare, the next time we get a preacher out here, 
I 'm going to make him hold forth on the duties of wives ! " 


" And husbands, too ! " said Aunt Maria. 

" Do/' said Nina ; " I should like a little prospective in- 

Nina, as often, spoke before she thought. Uncle John 
gave a malicious look at Clayton. Nina could not recall 
the words. She colored deeply, and went on hastily to 
change the subject. 

" At any rate, I know that aunt, here, has a much harder 
time than housekeepers do in the free states. Just the 
shoes she wears out chasing up her negroes would hire help 
enough to do all her work. They used to have an idea, up 
there, that all the southern ladies did was to lie on the sofa. 
I used to tell them it was as much as they knew about it." 

" Your cares don't seem to have worn you much ! ; ' said 
Uncle John. 

" Well, they will, Uncle John, if you don't behave better. 
It's enough to break anybody down to keep you in order." 

" I wish," said Uncle John, shrugging up his shoulders, 
and looking quizzically at Clayton, " somebody would take 
warning ! " 

"For my part," said Aunt Maria, "I know one thing; 
I 'd be glad to get rid of my negroes. Sometimes I think 
life is such a burden that I don't think it 's worth having." 

" 0, no, you don't, mother ! " said Uncle John ; " not with 
such a charming husband as you 've got, who relieves you 
from all care so perfectly ! " 

" I declare," said Nina, looking along the avenue, 
" what 's that ? Why, if there is n't old Tiff, coming along 
with his children ! " 

" Who is he ? " said Aunt Maria. 

"0, he belongs to one of these miserable families," said 
Aunt Nesbit, "that have squatted in the pine-woods some- 
where about here — a poor, worthless set ! but Nina has a 
great idea of patronizing them." 

" Clear Gordon, every inch of her ! " said Aunt Maria, as 
Nina ran down to meet Tiff. " Just like her uncle ! " 

" Come, now, old lady, I '11 tell of you, if you don't take 


care ! " said Mr. Gordon. " Did n't I find you putting up a 
basket of provisions for those folks you scolded me so for 
taking in ? " 

" Scold, Mr. Gordon ? I never scold ! " 

" I beg pardon — that you reproved me for ! " 

Ladies generally are not displeased for being reproached 
for their charities ; and Aunt Maria, whose bark, to use a 
vulgar proverb, was infinitely worse than her bite, sat fan- 
ning herself, with an air of self-complacency. Meanwhile, 
Nina had run down the avenue, and was busy in a confiden- 
tial communication with Tiff. On her return, she came skip- 
ping up the steps, apparently in high glee. 

"0, Uncle John! there's the greatest fun getting up ! 
You must all go, certainly ! What do you think ? Tiff 
says there 's to be a camp-meeting in the neighborhood, 
only about five miles off from his place. Let 's make up a 
party, and all go ! " 

" That 's the time of day ! " said Uncle John. " I enrol 
myself under your banner, at once. I am open to improve- 
ment ! Anybody wants to convert me, here I am ! " 

" The trouble with you, Uncle John," said Nina, "is that 
you don't stay converted. You are just like one of these 
heavy fishes — you bite very sharp, but, before anybody can 
get you fairly on to the bank, you are flapping and flounder- 
ing back into the water, and down you go into your sins 
again. I know at least three ministers who thought they 
had hooked you out ; but they were mistaken." 

"For my part," said Aunt Maria, " I think these camp- 
meetings do more harm than good. They collect all the 
scum and the riff-raff of the community, and I believe 
there 's more drinking done at camp-meetings in one week 
than is clone in six anywhere else. Then, of course, all the 
hands will want to be off ; and Mr. Gordon has brought 
them up so that they feel dreadfully abused if they are not 
in with everything that's going on. I shall set down my 
foot, this year, that they shan't go any day except Sunday." 

" My wife knows that she was always celebrated for hav- 


ing the handsomest foot in the county, and so she is always 
setting it down at me ! " said Mr. Gordon ; " for she knows 
that a pretty foot is irresistible with me." 

" Mr. Gordon, how can you talk so ? I should think that 
you 'd got old enough not to make such silly speeches ! " 
said Aunt Maria. 

" Silly speeches ! It 's a solemn fact, and you won't hear 
anything truer at the camp-meeting ! " said Uncle John. 
" But come, Clayton, will you go ? My dear fellow, your 
grave face will be an appropriate ornament to the scene, I 
can assure you ; and, as to Miss Anne, it won't do for an old 
fellow like me, in this presence, to say what a happiness it 
would be." 

"I suspect," said Anne, "Edward is afraid he may be 
called on for some of the services. People are always tak- 
ing him for a clergyman, and asking him to say grace at 
meals, and to conduct family prayers, when he is travelling 
among strangers." 

"It's a comment on our religion, that these should be 
though peculiar offices of clergymen," said Clayton. 
" Every Christian man ought to be ready and willing to take 

" I honor that sentiment! " said Uncle John. "A man 
ought not to be ashamed of his religion anywhere, no more 
than a soldier of his colors. I believe there 's more religion 
hid in the hearts of honest laymen, now, than is plastered up 
behind the white cravats of clergymen ; and they ought to 
come out with it. Not that I have any disrespect for the 
clergy, either," said Uncle John. "Fine men — a little 
stiffish, and don't call things by good English names. Al- 
ways talking about dispensation, and sanctification, and 
edification, and so forth ; but I like them. They are sin- 
cere. I suppose they would n't any of them give me a 
chance for heaven, because I rip out with an oath, every now 
and then. But, the fact is, what with niggers, and overseers, 
and white trash, my chances of salvation are dreadfully 
limited. I can't help swearing, now and then, if I was to 


die for it. They say it 's dreadfully wicked ; but I feel more 
Christian when I let out than when I keep in ! " 

"Mr. Gordon/' said Aunt Maria, reprovingly, "do con- 
sider what you 're saying ! " 

"My dear, I am considering. I am considering all the 
time ! I never do anything else but consider — except, as 
I said before, every now and then, when what-'s-his-name 
gets the advantage over me. And, hark you, Mrs. G., let 's 
have things ready at our house, if any of the clergy would 
like to spend a week or so with us ; and we could get them 
up some meetings, or any little thing in their line. I always 
like to show respect for them." 

"Our beds are always prepared for company, Mr. Gor- 
don," said Aunt Maria, with a stately air. 

" 0, yes, yes, I don't doubt that ! I only meant some 
special preparation — some little fatted-calf killing, and so 

"Now," said Nina, "shall we set off to-morrow morn- 


? » 

" Agreed ! " said Uncle John, 


tiff's preparations. 

The announcement of the expected camp-meeting- pro- 
duced a vast sensation at Canema, in other circles beside 
the hall. In the servants' department, everybody was full 
of the matter, from Aunt Katy down to Tomtit. The 
women were thinking over their available finery ; for these 
gatherings furnish the negroes with the same opportu- 
nity of display that Grace Church does to the Broadway 
belles. And so, before Old Tiff, who had brought the first 
intelligence to the plantation, had time to depart, Tomtit 
had trumpeted the news through all the cluster of negro- 
houses that skirted the right side of the mansion, proclaim- 
ing that " dere was gwine to be a camp-meeting, and tip-top 
work of grace, and Miss Nina was going to let all de nig- 
gers go." Old Tiff, therefore, found himself in a prominent 
position in a group of negro-women, among whom Rose, 
the cook, was conspicuous. 

" Law, Tiff, ye gwine ? and gwine to take your chil'en ? 
ha ! ha ! ha ! " said she. " Why, Miss Fanny, dey '11 tink 
Tiff's yer mammy ! Ho ! ho ! ho ! " 

"Yah! yah! Ho! ho! ho!" roared in a chorus of 
laughter on all sides, doing honor to Aunt Rosy's wit ; and 
Tomtit, who hung upon the skirts of the crowd, threw up 
the fragment of a hat in the air, and kicked it in an abandon 
of joy, regardless of the neglected dinner-knives. Old Tiff, 
mindful of dignities, never failed to propitiate Rose, on his 
advents to the plantation, with the gift which the "wise 
man saith maketh friends;" and, on the present occasion, he 

274 tiff's preparations. 

had enriched her own peculiar stock of domestic fowl by 
the present of a pair of young partridge-chicks, a nest of 
which he had just captured, intending to bring them up by 
hand, as he did his children. By this discreet course, Tiff 
stood high where it was of most vital consequence that he 
should so stand ; and many a choice morsel did Rose cook 
for him in secret, besides imparting to him most invaluable 
recipes on the culture and raising of sucking babies. Old 
Hundred, like many other persons, felt that general attention 
lavished on any other celebrity was so much taken from 
his own merits, and, therefore, on the present occasion, sat 
regarding Tiff's evident popularity with a cynical eye. At 
last, coming up, like a wicked fellow as he was, he launched 
his javelin at Old Tiff, by observing to his wife, 

" I 's 'stonished at you, Rose ! You, cook to de Gor- 
dons, and making youself so cheap — so familiar with de 
poor white folks' niggers ! " 

Had the slant fallen upon himself, personally, Old Tiff 
would probably have given a jolly crow, and laughed as 
heartily as he generally did if he happened to be caught out 
in a rain-storm ; but the reflection on his family connection 
fired him up like a torch, and his eyes flashed through his 
big spectacles like fire-light through windows. 

'-' You go 'long, talking 'bout what you don' know nothing 
'bout ! I like to know what you knows 'bout de old Virgin- 
ny fam'lies ? Dem 's de real old stock ! You Car'lina folks 
come from dem, stick and stock, every blest one of you ! 
De Gordons is a nice family — an't nothing to say agin de 
Gordons — but whar was you raised, dat ye did n't hear 
'bout de Peytons ? Why, old Gen'al Pe} r ton, didn't he 
use to ride with six black horses afore him, as if he 'd been 
a king ? Dere wan't one of dem horses dat had n't a tail 
as long as my arm. You never see no such critters in your 
life ! " 

" I han't, han't I ? " said Old Hundred, now, in his turn, 
touched in a vital point. " Bless me, if I han't seen de Gor- 
dons riding out with der eight horses, any time o' day ! " 

tiff's preparations. 275 

" Come, come, now, dere was n't so many ! " said Rose, 
who had her own reasons for staying - on Tiff's side. " No- 
body never rode with eight horses ! " 

" Did too ! You say much more, I '11 make si?-:teen on 
'em ! 'Fore my blessed master, how dese yer old niggers 
will lie ! Dey 's always zaggerating der families. Makes 
de very liar rise on my head, to hear dese } r er old niggers 
talk, dey lie so ! " said Old Hundred. 

" You tink folks dat take to lying is using up your busi- 
ness, don't ye ? " said Tiff. " But, I tell you, any one dat 
says a word agin de Peytons got me to set in with ! " 

"Laws, dem chil'en an't Peytons ! " said Old Hundred; 
" dey 's Crippses ; and I like to know who ever hearn of de 
Crippses ? Go way ! don't tell me nothing about dem 
Crippses ! Dey ; s poor white folks ! A body may see dat 
sticking out all over 'em ! " 

" You shut up ! " said Tiff. " I don't b'lieve you was 
born on de Gordon place, 'cause you an't got no manners. 
I spects you some old, second-hand nigger, Colonel Gordon 
must a took for debt, some time, from some of dese yer mean 
Tennessee families, dat don' know how to keep der money 
when dey gets it. Der niggers is allers de meanest kind. 
'Cause all de real Gordon niggers is ladies and gen'lemen — 
every one of 'em ! " said Old Tiff, like a true orator, bent 
on carrying, his audience along with him. 

A general shout chorused this compliment ; and Tiff, 
under cover of the applause, shook up his reins, and rode 
off in triumph. 

" Dar, now, you aggravating old nigger," said Rose, 
turning to her bosom lord, " I hope yer got it now ! De 
plaguest old nigger dat ever I see ! And you, Tom, go 
'long and clean your knives, if yer don't mean to be cracked 
over ! " 

Meanwhile Tiff, restored to his usual tranquillity, ambled 
along homeward behind his one-eyed horse, singing "I'm 
bound for the land of Canaan," with some surprising varia- 

276 tiff's preparations. 

At last Miss Fanny, as he constantly called her, inter- 
posed with a very pregnant question. 

" Uncle Tiff, where is the land of Canaan ? " 

" De Lord-a-mercy, chile, dat ar 's what I ; d like to know, 

" Is it heaven ? " said Fanny. 

" Well, I reckon so," said Tiff, dubiously. 

" Is it where ma is gone ? " said Fanny. 

" Chile, I reckon it is," said Tiff. 

" Is it down under ground ? " said Fanny. 

" Why, no ! ho ! ho ! honey ! " said Tiff, laughing heart- 
ily. " What put dat ar in your head, Miss Fanny ? " 

" Did n't ma go that way ? " said Fanny ; " down through 
the ground ? " 

" Lordy, no, chile ! Heaven 's up ! " said Tiff, pointing 
up to the intense blue sky which appeared through the 
fringy hollows of the pine-trees above them. 

" Is there any stairs anywhere 1 or any ladder to get up 
by ? " said Fanny. " Or do they walk to where the sky 
touches the ground, and get up ? Perhaps they climb up 
on the rainbow." 

"1 don' know, chile, how dey works it," said Uncle 
Tiff. "Dey gets dar somehow. I 's studdin' upon dat 
ar. I 's gwine to camp-meeting to find out. I 's been to 
plenty of clem ar, and I never could quite see clar. 'Pears 
like dey talks about everything else more 'n dey does about 
dat. Dere 's de Methodists, dey cuts up de Presbyter' ans ; 
and de Presbyter'ans pitches into de Methodists ; and den 
both on 'em ; s down on de 'Piscopals. My ole mist' was 
'Piscopal, and I never seed no harm in 't. And de Baptists 
think dey an't none on 'em right ; and, while dey 's all a 
blowing out at each other, dat ar way, I 's a wondering 
whar 's de way to Canaan. It takes a mighty heap o' laming 
to know about dese yer things, and I an't got no laming. 
I don' know nothing, only de Lord, he 'peared to your ma, 
and he knows de way, and he took her. But, now, chile, 
I 's gwine to fix you up right smart, and take you, Teddy, 

tiff's preparations. • 277 

and de baby, to dis yer carnp-meeting, so you can seek de 
Lord in yer youth." 

" Tiff, if you please, I 'd rather not go ! " said Fanny, in 
an apprehensive tone. 

"0, bresa de Lord, Miss Fanny, why not? Fust-rate 
times dere." 

"There'll be too many people. I don't want them to 
see us." 

The fact was, that Rose's slant speech about Tiff's ma- 
ternal relationship, united with the sneers of Old Hundred, 
had their effect upon Fanny's mind. Naturally proud, and 
fearful of ridicule, she shrank from the public display which 
would thus be made of their family condition ; yet she 
would not for the world have betrayed to her kind old 
friend the real reason of her hesitation. But Old Tiff's 
keen eye had noticed the expression of the child's counte- 
nance at the time. If anybody supposes that the faithful 
old creature's heart was at all wounded by the perception, 
they ai-e greatly mistaken. 

To Tiff it appeared a joke of the very richest quality ; 
and, as he rode along in silence for some time, he indulged 
himself in one of his quiet, long laughs, actually shaking 
his old sides till the tears streamed down his cheeks. 

" What's the matter with you, Tiff? " said Fanny. 

" 0, Miss Fanny, Tiff knows ! — Tiff knows de reason ye 
don't want to go to camp-meeting. Tiff's seen it in yer 
face — ye ho ! ho ! ho ! Miss Fanny, is you 'fraid dey ; 11 
take Old Tiff for yer mammy ? — ye ho ! ho ! ho ! — for yer 
mammy ? — and Teddy's, and de baby's ? — bless his little 
soul!" And the amphibious old creature rollicked over 
the idea with infinite merriment. " Don't I look like it, 
Miss Fanny ? Lord, ye por dear lamb, can't folks see ye 's 
a born lady, with yer white, little hands ? Don't ye be 
'feared, Miss Fanny ! " 

"I know it's silly," said Fanny; "but, beside, I don't 
like to be called poo?" white folksy ! " 

"0, chile, it's only dem mean niggers! Miss Nina's 

273 tiff's preparations. 

allers good to ye, an't she ? Speaks to ye so handsome ! 
Ye must memorize dat ar, Miss Fanny, and talk like Miss 
Nina. I 's 'feard, now yer ma 's dead, ye '11 fall into some 
o' rny nigger ways of talking. 'Member you mustn't 
talk like Old Tiff, 'cause young ladies and gen'lemen 
mustn't .talk like niggers. Now, I says ' dis and dat, dis 
yer and dat ar.' Dat ar is nigger talk, and por white 
folksy, too. Only de por white folks, dey 's mis'able, 'cause 
niggers knows what 's good talk, but dey does n't. Lord, 
chile, Old Tiff knows what good talk is. An't he heard de 
greatest ladies and gen'lemen in de land talk ? But he 
don't want de trouble to talk dat ar way, 'cause he 's a 
nigger ! Tiff likes his own talk — it 's good enough for 
Tiff. Tiff's talk sarves him mighty well, I tell yer. But, 
den, white children must n't talk so. Now, you see, Miss 
Nina has got de prettiest way of saying her words. Dey 
drops out one after another, one after another, so pretty ! 
Now, you mind, 'cause she's coming to see us off and on — 
she promised so. And den you keep a good lookout how 
she walks, and how she holds her pocket-handkerchief. And 
when she sits down she kind o' gives a little flirt to her 
clothes, so dey all set out round her like ruffles. Dese yer 
little ways ladies have ! Why, dese yer por white folks, 
did yer ever mind der settin' down ? Why, dey jist slaps 
down into a chair like a spoonful o' mush, and der clothes 
all stick tight about 'em. I don't want nothing poor ivhite 
folksy 'bout you. Den, if you don't understand what peo- 
ple 's a saying to you, any time, you mustn't star, like por 
white chil'en, and say, 'what?' but you must say 'I beg 
pardon, sir,' or, 'I beg pardon, ma'am.' Dat ar 's de way. 
And, Miss Fanny, you and Teddy, you must study yer 
book ; 'cause, if you can't read, den dey '11 be sure to say 
yer por white folks. And, den, Miss Fanny, you see dat 
ladies don't demean demselves with sweeping and scrub- 
bing, and dem tings ; and yet dey does work, honey ! Dey 
sews, and dey knits ; and it would be good for you to larn 
how to sew and knit ; 'cause, you know, I can't allers make 


up all de clothes ; 'cause, you see, young ladies haves ways 
Avid 'em dat niggers can't get. Now, you see, Miss Fanny, 
all dese yer tings I was telling you, you must 'bserve. 
Now, you see, if you was one of dese yer por white folks, 
dere Le no use of your trying ; 'cause dat ar 'scription o' 
people couldn't never be ladies, if dey was waring them- 
selves out a trying. But, you see, you's got it in you : you 
was born to it, honey. It 's in de blood ; and what 's in de 
blood must come out — ho ! ho ! ho ! " And, with this final 
laugh, Tiff drew up to his dwelling. 

A busy day was before Old Tiff ; for he was to set 
his house in order for a week's campaign. There was his 
corn to be hoed, his parsley to be weeded, there was his 
orphan family of young partridges to be cared for. And 
Tiff, after some considerable consideration, resolved to take 
them along with him in a basket ; thinking, in the intervals 
of devotion, he should have an abundant opportunity to 
minister to their wants, and superintend their education. 
Then he went to one of his favorite springes, and brought 
from thence, not a fatted calf, to be sure, but a fatted coon, 
which he intended to take with him, to serve as the basis 
of a savory stew on the camp-ground. Tiff had a thriving 
company of pot-herbs, and a flourishing young colony of 
onions ; so that, whatever might be true of the sermons, it 
was evident that the stew would lack no savor. Teddy's 
clothes, also, were to be passed in review ; washing and 
ironing to be done ; the baby fitted up to do honor to his 
name, or rather to the name of his grandfather. With all 
these cares upon his mind, the old creature was even more 
than usually alert. The day was warm, and he resolved, 
therefore, to perform his washing operations in the magnif- 
icent kitchen of nature. He accordingly kindled a splendid 
bonfire, which was soon crackling at a short distance from 
the house, slung over it his kettle, and proceeded to some 
other necessary avocations. The pine-wood, which had 
been imperfectly seasoned, served him the ungracious trick 
that pine-wood is aDt to do : it crackled and roared merrily 

280 tiff's preparations. 

while he was present, but while he was down examining 
his traps in the woods went entirely out, leaving only the 
blackened sticks. 

" Uncle Tiff," said Teddy, " the fh*e is all gone out ! " 
" Ho ! ho ! ho ! — Has it ? " said Tiff, coming up. " Cu- 
rus enough ! Well, bress de Lord, got all de wood left, any 
way ; had a real bright fire, beside," said Tiff, intent on 
upholding the sunniest side of things. " Lord, it's de sun 
dat puts de fire out o' countenance. Did you ever see fire 
dat would n't go out when de sun 's shining right in its 
face ? Dat ar is a curus fact. I 's minded it heaps o' times. 
Well, I '11 jist have to come out wid my light-wood kindlings, 
dat 's all. Bress de Lord, ho ! ho ! ho ! " said Tiff, laugh- 
ing to himself, " if dese yer an't the very sp'rit of de camp- 
meeting professors ! Dey blazes away at de camp-meeting, 
and den dey 's black all de year round ! See 'em at de 
camp-meetings, you 'd say dey war gwine right into de 
kingdom, sure enough ! Well, Lord have marcy on us all ! 
Our 'ligion's drefful poor stuff! We don' know but a 
despert leetle, and what we does know we don' do. De 
good Mas'r above must have his hands full, with us 1 " 



The camp-meeting is one leading feature in the American 
development of religion, peculiarly suited to the wide extent 
of country, and to the primitive habits which generally ac- 
company a sparse population. Undoubtedly its general 
effects have been salutary. Its evils have been only those 
incident to any large gatherings, in which the whole popu- 
lation of a country are brought promiscuously together. 
As in many other large assemblies of worship, there are 
those who go for all sorts of reasons ; some from curiosity, 
some from love of excitement, some to turn a penny in a 
small way of trade, some to scoff, and a few to pray. And, 
so long as the heavenly way remains straight and narrow, 
so long the sincere and humble worshippers will ever be 
the minority in all assemblies. We can give no better idea 
of the difference of motive which impelled the various wor- 
shippers, than by taking our readers from scene to scene, on 
the morning when different attendants of the meeting were 
making preparations to start. 

Between the grounds of Mr. John Gordon and the planta- 
tion of Canema stood a log cabin, which was the trading 
establishment of Abijah Skinflint. The establishment was 
a nuisance in the eyes of the neighboring planters, from the 
general apprehension entertained that Abijah drove a brisk 
underhand trade with the negroes, and that the various arti- 
cles which he disposed for sale were many of them surrep- 
titiously conveyed to him in nightly instalments from off 
their own plantations. But of this nothing could be proved. 


Abijah was a shrewd fellow, long, dry, lean, leathery, 
with a sharp nose, sharp, little gray eyes, a sharp chin, and 
fingers as long as bird's-claws. His skin was so dry that 
one would have expected that his cheeks would crackle 
whenever he smiled, or spoke ; and he rolled in them a 
never-failing quid of tobacco. 

Abijah was one of those over-shrewd Yankees, who leave 
their country for their country's good, and who exhibit, 
wherever they settle, such a caricature of the thrifty virtue 
of their native land as to justify the aversion which the 
native-born Southerner entertains for the Yankee. Abijah 
drank his own whiskey, — prudently, however, — or, as he 
said, "never so as not to know what he was about." 

He had taken a wife from the daughters of the land ; who 
also drank whiskey, but less prudently than her husband, 
so that sometimes she did not know what she was about. 
Sons and daughters were born unto this promising couple, 
white-headed, forward, dirty, and ill-mannered. But, amid 
all domestic and social trials, Abijah maintained a constant 
and steady devotion to the main chance ■ — the acquisition 
of money. For money he would do anything ; for money 
he would have sold his wife, his children, even his own 
soul, if he had happened to have one. But that article, 
had it ever existed, was now so small and dry, that one 
might have fancied it to rattle in his lean frame like a shriv- 
elled pea in a last j^ear's peascod. Abijah was going to the 
camp-meeting for two reasons. One, of course, was to make 
money; and the other was to know whether his favorite 
preacher, Elder Stringfellow, handled the doctrine of elec- 
tion according to his views ; for Abijah had a turn for theol- 
ogy, and could number off the five points of Calvinism on 
his five long fingers, with unfailing accuracy. 

It is stated in the Scriptures that the devils believe and 
tremble. The principal difference between their belief and 
Abijah's was, that he believed and did not tremble. Truths 
awful enough to have shaken the earth, and veiled the sun, 


he could finger over with as much unconcern as a practised 
anatomist the dry bones of a skeleton. 

" You, Sam ! " said Abijah to his only negro helot, 
"you mind, you steady that ar bar'l, so that it don't roll 
out, and pour a pailful of water in at the bung. It won't 
do to give it to 'em too strong. Miss Skinflint, you make 
haste ! If you don't, I shan't wait for you ; 'cause, whatever 
the rest may do, it 's important I should be on the ground 
early. Many a dollar lost for not being in time, in this 
world. Hurry, woman ! " 

" I am ready, but Polly an't 1 " said Mrs. Skinflint. 
" She 's busy a plastering down her hair." 

" Can't wait for her! " said Abijah, as he sallied out of 
the house to get into the wagon, which stood before the door, 
into which he had packed a copious supply of hams, eggs, 
dressed chickens, corn-meal, and green summer vegetables, 
to say nothing of the barrel of whiskey aforesaid. 

" I say, Dad, you stop ! " called Polly, from the window. 
" If you don't, I '11 make work for you 'fore you come home ; 
you see if I don't ! Durned if I won't ! " 

" Come along, then, can't you ? Next time we go any- 
where, I '11 shut you up over night to begin to dress ! " 

Polly hastily squeezed her fat form into a red calico dress, 
and, seizing a gay summer shawl, with her bonnet in her 
hand, rushed to the wagon and mounted, the hooks of her 
dress successively exploding, and flying off, as she stooped 
to get in. 

" Durned if I knows what to do ! " said she ; " this yer 
old durned gear coat 's all off my back ! " 

" Gals is always fools ! " said Abijah, consolingly. 

" Stick in a pin, Polly," said her mother, in an easy, sing- 
song drawl. 

" Durn you, old woman, every hook is off!" said the 
promising young lady. 

"Stick in more pins, then," said the mamma; and the 
vehicle of Abijah passed onward 


On the verge of the swamp, a little beyond Tiff's cabin, 
lived Ben Dakin. 

Ben was a mighty hunter ; he had the best pack of dogs 
within thirty miles round ; and his advertisements, still to 
be seen standing in the papers of his native state, detailed 
with great accuracy the precise terms on which he would 
hunt down and capture any man, woman, or child, escap- 
ing from service and labor in that country. Our readers 
must not necessarily suppose Ben to have been a monster 
for all this, when they recollect that, within a few years, 
both the great political parties of our Union solemnly 
pledged themselves, as far as in them lay, to accept a sim- 
ilar vocation ; and, as many of them were in good and 
regular standing in churches, and had ministers to preach 
sermons to the same effect, we trust they '11 entertain no 
unreasonable prejudice against Ben on this account. 

In fact, Ben was a tall, broad-shouldered, bluff, hearty- 
looking fellow, who would do a kind turn for a neighbor 
with as much good-will as anybody ; and, except that he 
now and then took a little too much whiskey, as he him- 
self admitted, he considered himself quite as promising a 
candidate for the kingdom as any of the company who were 
going up to camp-meeting. Had any one ventured to 
remonstrate with Ben against the nature of his profession, 
he would probably have defended it by pretty much the 
same arguments by which modern theologians defend the 
institution of which it is a branch. 

Ben was just one of those jovial fellows who never could 
bear to be left behind in anything that was going on in the 
community, and was always one of the foremost in a camp- 
meeting. He had a big, loud voice, and could roll out the 
chorus of hymns with astonishing effect. He was generally 
converted at every gathering of this kind ; though, through 
the melancholy proclivity to whiskey, before alluded to, he 
usually fell from grace before the year was out. Like many 
other big and hearty men, he had a little, pale, withered, 
moonshiny wisp of a wife, who hung on his elbow much 


like an empty work-bag ; and Ben, to do him justice, was 
kind to the wilted little mortal, as if he almost suspected 
that he had absorbed her vitality into his own exuberant 
growth. She was greatly given to eating clay, cleaning 
her teeth with snuff, and singing Methodist hymns, and had 
a very sincere concern for Ben's salvation. The little 
woman sat resignedly on the morning we speak of, while a 
long-limbed, broad-shouldered child, of two years, with bristly 
white hair, was pulling her by her ears and hair, and other- 
wise maltreating her, to make her get up to give him a 
piece of bread and molasses ; and she, without seeming to 
attend to the child, was giving earnest heed to her hus- 

"There's a despit press of business now!" said Ben. 
" There "'s James's niggers, and Smith's Polly, and we ought 
to be on the trail, right away ! " 

" 0, Ben, you ought to 'tend to your salvation afore 
anything else ! " said his wife. 

" That 's true enough ! ' ; said Ben ; " meetings don't come 
every clay." 

"But what are we to do with dis yer 'un ? " pointing to 
the door of an inner room. 

"Dis yer 'un " was no other than a negro-woman, named 
Nance, who had been brought in by the clogs, the day 

" Laws ! " said his wife, " we can set her something to 
eat, and leave the dogs in front of the door. She can't get 

Ben threw open the door, and displayed to view a low 
kind of hutch, without any other light than that between 
the crevices of the logs. On the floor, which was of hard- 
trodden earth, sat a sinewy, lean negro-woman, drawing 
up her knees with her long arms, and resting her chin upon 

"Hollo, Nance, how are you?" said Ben, rather cheer- 

" Por'ly, mas'r," said the other, in a sullen tone. 


" Nance, you think your old man will whale you, when 
he gets you ? " said Ben. 

" I reckons he will," said Nance ; " he allers does." 

" Well, Nance, the old woman and I want to go to a 
camp-meeting ; and I '11 just tell you what it is, — you stay 
here quiet, while we are gone, and I '11 make the old fellow 
promise not to wallop you. I would n't mind taking off 
something of the price — that 's fair, an't it ? " 

"Yes, mas'r!" said the woman, in the same subdued 

" Does your foot hurt you much ? " said Ben. 

" Yes, mas'r ! " said the woman. 

" Let me look at it," said Ben. 

The woman put out one foot, which had been loosely 
bound up in old rags, now saturated in blood. 

"I declar, if that ar dog an't a pealer ! " said Ben. 
" Nance, you ought ter have stood still ; then he would n't 
have hurt you so." 

" Lord, he hurt me so I could n't stand still ! " said the 
woman. " It an't natur to stand still with a critter's teeth 
in yer foot." 

" Well, I don't know as it is," said Ben, good-naturedly. 
" Here, Miss Dakin, you bind up this here gal's foot. Stop 
your noise, sir-ee ! " he added, to the young aspirant for 
bread and molasses, who, having despatched one piece, was 
clamoring vigorously for another. 

" I '11 tell you what ! " said Ben, to his wife, " I am going 
to talk to that ar old Elder Settle. I runs more niggers for 
him than any man in the county, and I know there 's some 
reason for it. Niggers don't run into swamps when they 's 
treated well. Folks that professes religion, I think, ought n't 
to starve their niggers, no way ! " 

Soon the vehicle of Ben was also on the road. He gath- 
ered up the reins vigorously, threw back his head to get 
the full benefit of his lungs, and commenced a vehement 
camp-meeting melody, to the tune of 

" Am I a soldier of the cross, 
A follower of the Lamb ? " 


A hymn, by the by, which was one of Ben's particular 

We come next to Tiff's cottage, cf which the inmates 
were astir, in the coolness of the morning', bright and early. 
Tiff's wagon was a singular composite article, principally 
of his own construction. The body of it consisted of a 
long packing-box. The wheels were all odd ones, that 
had been brought home at different times by Cripps. The 
shafts were hickory-poles, thinned at one end, and fastened 
to the wagon by nails. Some barrel-hoops bent over the 
top, covered by coarse white cotton cloth, formed the cur- 
tains, and a quantity of loose straw dispersed inside was 
the only seat. The lean, one-eyed horse was secured to 
this vehicle by a harness made of old ropes ; but no million- 
naire, however, ever enjoyed his luxuriantly-cushioned coach 
with half the relish with which Tiff enjoyed his equipage. 
It was the work of his hands, the darling of his heart, 
the delight of his eyes. To be sure, like other mortal 
darlings, it was to be admitted that it had its weak points 
and failings. The wheels would now and then come off, the 
shafts get loose, or the harness break ; but Tiff was always 
prepared, and, on occasion of any such mishaps, would 
jump out and attend to them with such cheerful alacrity, 
that, if anything, he rather seemed to love it better for the 
accident. There it stands now, before the enclosure of the 
little cabin ; and Tiff, and Fanny, and Teddy, with bustling 
assiduity, are packing and arranging it. The gum-tree 
cradle-trough took precedence of all other articles. Tiff, 
by the private advice of Aunt Eose, had just added to this 
an improvement, which placed it, in his view, tip-top among 
cradles. He had nailed to one end of it a long splint of 
elastic hickory, which drooped just over the baby's face. 
From this was suspended a morsel of salt pork, which this 
young scion of a noble race sucked with a considerate relish, 
while his large, round eyes opened and shut with sleepy 
satisfaction. This arrangement Eose had recommended, in 
mysterious tones, as all powerful in making sucking babies 


forget their mammies, whom otherwise they might pine for in 
a manner prejudicial to their health. 

Although the day was sultry, Tiff was arrayed in his 
long-skirted white great-coat, as his nether garments were 
in too dilapidated a state to consist with the honor of the 
family. His white felt hat still bore the band of black 

"It's a 'mazin' good day, bless de Lord!" said Tiff. 
" Tears like dese yer birds would split der troats, praising 
de Lord ! It's a mighty good zample to us, any way. 
You see, Miss Fanny, you never see birds put out, nor 
snarly like, rain or shine. Dey ; s allers a praising de Lord. 
Lord, it seems as if critters is better dan we be ! " And, 
as Tiff spoke, he shouldered into the wagon a mighty bag 
of corn ; but, failing in what he meant to do, the bag slid 
over the side, and tumbled back into the road. Being 
somewhat of the oldest, the fall burst it asunder, and the 
corn rolled into the sand, with that provoking alacrity which 
things always have when they go the wrong way. Fanny 
and Teddy both uttered an exclamation of lamentation ; but 
Tiff held on to his sides and laughed till the tears rolled 
down his cheeks. 

" He ! he ! he ! ho ! ho ! ho ! Why, dat ar is de last 
bag we 's got, and dar 's all de corn a running out in de 
sand ! Ho ! ho ! ho ! Lord, it 's so curus ! ;; 

" Why, what are you going to do ? " said Fanny. 

" 0, bress you, Miss Fanny," said Tiff, " I 's bound to do 
something, any how. 'Clare for it, now, if I han't got a 
box ! " And Tiff soon returned with the article in question, 
which proved too large for the wagon. The corn, however, 
was emptied into it pro tern., and Tiff, producing his darning- 
needle and thimble, sat down seriously to the task of stitch- 
ing up the hole. 

" De Lord's things an't never in a hurry," said Tiff. 
" Corn and 'tatoes will have der time, and why should n't 
I ? Dar," he said, after having mended the bag and replaced 
the corn, " dat ar 's better now nor 't was before." 


Besides his own store of provisions, Tiff prudently laid 
into his wagon enough of garden stuff to turn a penny for 
Miss Fanny and the children, on the camp-ground. His 
commissariat department, in fact, might have provoked ap- 
petite, even among the fastidious. There were dressed 
chickens and rabbits, the coon aforesaid, bundles of savory 
herbs, crisp, dewy lettuce, bunches of onions, radishes, 
and green peas. 

"Tell ye what, chil'en," said Tiff, "we'll live like 
princes ! And, you mind, order me round well. Let folks 
har ye ; 'cause what 's de use of having a nigger, and no- 
body knowing it ? " 

And, everything being arranged, Tiff got in, and jogged 
comfortably along. At the turn of the cross-road, Tiff, 
looking a little behind, saw, on the other road, the Gordon 
carriage coming, driven by Old Hundred, arrayed in his 
very best ruffled shirt, white gloves, and gold hat-band. 

If ever Tift* came near having a pang in his heart, it was 
at that moment ; but he^Vetreated stoutly upon the idea that, 
however appearances might be against them, his family was 
no less ancient and honorable for that ; and, therefore, put- 
ting on all his dignity, he gave his beast an extra cut, as 
who should say, " I don't care." 

But, as ill-luck would have it, the horse, at this instant, 
giving a jerk, wrenched out the nails that fastened the shaft 
on one side, and it fell, trailing dishonored on the ground. 
The rope harness pulled all awry, and just at this moment 
the Gordon carriage swept up. 

" 'Fore I 'd drive sich old trash ! " said Old Hundred, 
scornfully ; "pulls all to pieces every step ! If dat ar an't 
a poor white folksy 'stablishment, I never seed one ! " 

" What 's the matter ? " said Nina, putting her head out. 
" 0, Tiff"! good-morning, my good fellow. Can we help 
you, there ? John, get down and help him." 

" Please, Miss Nina, de hosses is so full o' tickle, dis yer 
mornin', I could n't let go, no ways ! " said Old Hundred. 

" 0, laws bless you, Miss Nina," said Tift", restored to his 


usual spirits, " 7 t an't nothin'. Broke in a strordinary 
good place dis yer time. I ken hammer it up in a minute. " 

And Tiff was as good as his word ; for a round stone and 
big nail made all straight. 

"Pray," said Nina, "how are little Miss Fanny, and the 
children ? " 

Miss Fanny ! If Nina had heaped Tiff with presents, she 
could not have conferred the inexpressible obligation con- 
veyed in these words. He bowed low to the ground, with 
the weight of satisfaction, and answered that " Miss Fanny 
and the chil'en were well." 

"There," said Nina, "John, you may drive on. Do you 
know, friends, I ; ve set Tiff up for six weeks, by one word ? 
Just saying Miss Fanny has done more for him than if I 'd 
sent him six bushels of potatoes." * # * * 

We have yet to take our readers to one more scene 
before we finish the review of those who were going to the 
camp-meeting. The reader must follow us far beyond the 
abodes of man, into the recesses t>f that wild desolation 
known as the " Dismal Swamp." We pass over vast tracts 
where the forest seems growing out of the water. Cypress, 
red cedar, sweet gum, tulip, poplar, beech, and holly, 
form a goodly fellowship, waving their rustling boughs 
above. The trees shoot up in vast columns, fifty, seventy- 
five, and a hundred feet in height ; and below are clusters 
of evergreen gall-bushes, with their thick and glossy 
foliage, mingled in with swamp honeysuckles, grape-vines, 
twining brier, and laurels, and other shrubs, forming an 
impenetrable thicket. The creeping plants sometimes climb 
seventy or eighty feet up the largest tree, and hang in heavy 
festoons from their branches. It would seem impossible 
that human foot could penetrate the wild, impervious jungle ; 
but we must take our readers through it, to a cleared spot, 
where trunks of fallen trees, long decayed, have formed an 
island of vegetable mould, which the art of some human 
hand has extended and improved. The clearing is some 
sixty yards long by thirty broad, and is surrounded with a 


natural rampart, which might well bid defiance to man or 
beast. Huge trees have been felled, with all their branches 
lyiug thickly one over another, in a circuit around ; and 
nature, seconding the efforts of the fugitives who sought 
refuge here, has interlaced the -frame-work thus made with 
thorny cat-briers, cables of grape-vine, and thickets of 
Virginia creeper, which, running wild in their exuberance, 
climb on to the neighboring trees, and, swinging down, 
again lose themselves in the mazes from which they spring, 
so as often to form a verdurous wall fifty feet in height. 
In some places the laurel, with its glossy green leaves, and 
its masses of pink-tipped snowy blossoms, presents to the 
eye, rank above rank, a wilderness of beauty. The pendants 
of the yellow jessamine swing to and fro in the air like 
censers, casting forth clouds of perfume. A thousand 
twining vines, with flowers of untold name, perhaps un- 
known as yet to the botanist, help to fill up the mosaic. 
The leafy ramparts sweep round on all the sides of the clear- 
ing, for the utmost care has been taken to make it impene- 
trable ; and, in that region of heat and moisture, nature, in 
the course of a few weeks, admirably seconds every human 
effort. The only egress from it is a winding path cut 
through with a hatchet, which can be entered by only one 
person at a time ; and the water which surrounds this 
island entirely cuts off the trail from the scent of clogs. It 
is to be remarked that the climate, in the interior of the 
swamp, is far from being unhealthy. Lumber-men, who 
spend great portions of the year in it, cutting shingles and 
staves, testify to the general salubrity of the air and water. 
The opinion prevails among them that the cpiantity of pine 
and other resinous trees that grow there, impart a balsamic 
property to the water, and impregnate the air with a healthy 
resinous fragrance, which causes it to be an exception to the 
usual rule of the unhealthiness of swampy land. The soil also, 
when drained sufficiently for purposes of culture, is profusely 
fertile. Two small cabins stood around the border of the 
clearing, but the centre was occupied with patches of corn 


and sweet potatoes, planted there to secure as much as pos- 
sible the advantage of sun and air. 

At the time we take our readers there, the afternoon sun 
of a sultry June day is casting- its long shadows over the 
place, and a whole choir of birds is echoing in the branches. 
On the ground, in front of one of the cabins, lies a negro- 
man, covered with blood ; two women, with some little 
children, are grouped beside him ; and a wild figure, 
whom we at once recognize as Dred, is kneeling by him, 
busy in efforts to stanch a desperate wound in the neck. 
In vain ! The red blood spurts out at every pulsation of 
the heart, with a fearful regularity, telling too plainly that 
it is a great life-artery which has been laid open. The 
negro-woman, kneeling on the other side, is anxiously hold- 
ing some bandages, which she has stripped from a portion 
of her raiment. 

" 0, put these on, quick — do ! " 

" It 's no use," said Dred ; " he is going ! " 

" 0, do ! — don't, don't let him go ! Can't you save him ? " 
said the woman, in tones of agony. 

The wounded man's eyes opened, and first fixed them- 
selves, with a vacant stare, on the blue sky above ; then, 
turning on the woman, he seemed to try to speak. He had 
had a strong arm ; ho tries to raise it, but the blood wells 
up with the effort, the eye glazes, the large frame shivers 
for a few moments, and then all is still. The blood stops 
flowing now, for the heart has stopped beating, and an im- 
mortal soul has gone back to Him who gave it. 

The man was a fugitive from a neighboring plantation — 
a simple-hearted, honest fellow, who had fled, with his wife 
and children, to save her from the licentious persecution of 
the overseer. Dred had received and sheltered him ; had 
built him a cabin, and protected him for months. 

A provision of the Revised Statutes of North Carolina 
enacts that slaves thus secreted in the swamps, not 'return- 
ing within a given time, shall be considered outlawed ; and 
that " it shall be lawful for any person or persons whatso- 


ever to kill and destroy such slaves, by such ways and 
means as they shall think fit, without any accusation or 
impeachment of crime for the same." It also provides that, 
when any slave shall be killed in consequence of such out- 
lawry, the value of such slave shall be ascertained by a jury, 
and the owner entitled to receive two thirds of the valua- 
tion from the sheriff of the county wherein the slave was 

In olden times, the statute provided that the proclama- 
tion of outlawry should be published on a Sabbath day, at 
the door of any church or chapel, or place where divine 
service should be performed, immediately after divine ser- 
vice, by the parish clerk or reader. 

In the spirit of this permission, a party of negro-hunters, 
with dog-s and guns, had chased this man, who, on this day, 
had unfortunately ventured out of his concealment. 

He succeeded in outrunning all but one dog, which sprang 
up, and, fastening his fangs in his throat, laid him prostrate 
within a few paces of his retreat. Dred came up in time to 
kill the dog, but the wound, as appeared, had proved a 
mortal one. 

As soon as the wife perceived that her husband was really 
dead, she broke into a loud wail. 

" 0, dear, he 's gone ! and 'twas all for me he did it! 
0, he was so good, such a good man ! 0, do tell me, is he 
dead, is he?" 

Dred lifted the yet warm hand in his a moment, and then 
dropped it heavily. 

"Dead!" he said, in a deep undertone of suppressed 
emotion. Suddenly kneeling down beside him, he lifted 
his hands, and broke forth with wild vehemence : 

" 0, Lord God, to whom vengeance belongeth, show thy- 
self! Lift up thyself, thou Judge of the earth, render a 
reward to the proud ! Doubtless thou art our Father, though 
Abraham be ignorant of us, and Israel acknowledge us not. 
Thou, Lord, art our Father, our Redeemer ; thy ways are 
everlasting; — where is thy zeal and thy strength, and the 


sounding of thy bowels towards us ? Are they restrained ? " 
Then, tossing his hands to heaven, with a yet wilder gesture, 
he almost screamed, " 0, Lord ! 0, Lord! how long? 0, 
that thou wouldst rend the heavens and come down ! 0, let 
the sighings of the prisoner come before thee ! Our bones 
are scattered at the grave's mouth, as when one cutteth and 
cleaveth wood ! We are given as sheep to the slaughter ! 
We are killed all the day long ! 0, Lord, avenge us of 
our adversaries ! " 

These words were spoken with a vehement earnestness 
of gesture and voice, that hushed the lamentation of the 
mourners. Rising up from his knees, he stood a moment 
looking down at the lifeless form before him. " See here," 
he said, " what harm had this man done ? Was he not 
peaceable ? Did he not live here in quietness, tilling the 
ground in the sweat of his brow ? Why have they sent the 
hunters upon him ? Because he wanted to raise his corn 
for himself, and not for another. Because he wanted his 
wife for himself, and not for another. Was not the world 
wide enough ? Is n't there room enough under the sky ? 
Because this man wished to eat the fruit of his own labor, 
the decree went forth against him, even the curse of Cain, 
so that whosoever findeth him shall kill him. Will not 
the Lord be avenged on such a people as this ? To-night 
they will hold their solemn assembly, and blow the trumpet 
in their new moon, and the prophets will prophesy falsely, 
and the priests will speak wickedly concerning oppression. 
The word of the Lord saith unto me, ' Go unto this people, 
and break before them the staff beauty and the staff 
bands, and be a sign unto this people of the terror of the 
Lord. Behold, saith the Lord, therefore have I raised thee 
up and led thee through the wilderness, through the deso- 
late places of the land not sown.' " 

As Dred spoke, his great black eye seemed to enlarge 
itself and roll with a glassy fulness, like that of a sleep- 
walker in a somnambulic dream. His wife, seeing him pre- 
pare to depart, threw herself upon him. 


" 0, don't, don't leave us ! You '11 be killed, some of these 
times, just as they killed him ! " 

" Woman ! the burden of the Lord is upon me. The word 
of the Lord is as a fire shut up in my bones. The Lord 
saith unto me, ' G-o show unto this people their iniquity, 
and be a sign unto this evil nation \' " 

Breaking away from his wife, he precipitated himself 
through an opening into the thicket, and was gone. 



The place selected for the camp-meeting was in one of 
the most picturesque portions of the neighborhood. It was 
a small, partially-cleared spot, in the midst of a dense for- 
est, which stretched away in every direction, in cool, green 
aisles of checkered light and shade. 

In the central clearing, a sort of rude amphitheatre of 
seats was formed of rough-pine slabs. Around on the edges 
of the forest the tents of the various worshippers were 
pitched ; for the spending of three or four days and nights 
upon the ground is deemed an essential part of the service. 
The same clear stream which wound round the dwelling of 
Tiff prattled its way, with a modest gurgle, through this 
forest, and furnished the assembly with water. 

The Gordons, having come merely for the purposes of 
curiosity, and having a residence in the neighborhood, did 
not provide themselves with a tent. The servants, however, 
were less easily satisfied. Aunt Rose shook her head, and 
declared, oracularly, that " De blessing was sure to come 
down in de night, and dem dat wanted to get a part of it 
would have to be dar ! " 

Consequently, Nina was beset to allow her people to have 
a tent, in which they were to take turns in staying all night, 
as candidates for the blessing. In compliance with that law 
of good-humored indulgence which had been the tradition- 
ary usage of her family, Nina acceded ; and the Gordon tent 
spread its snowy sails, to the rejoicing of their hearts. Aunt 
Rose predominated about the door, alternately slapping the 


children and joining- the chorus of hymns which she heard 
from every part of the camp-ground. On the outskirts 
were various rude booths, in which whiskey and water, and 
sundry articles of provision, and fodder for horses, were dis- 
pensed for a consideration. Abijah Skinflint here figured 
among the money-changers, while his wife and daughter 
were gossiping through the tents of the women. In front 
of the seats, under a dense cluster of pines, was the preach- 
ers' stand : a rude stage of rough boards, with a railing 
around it, and a desk of small slabs, supporting a Bible 
and a hymn-book. 

The preachers were already assembling ; and no small cu- 
riosity was expressed with regard to them by the people, who 
were walking up and down among the tents. Nina, leaning' 
on the arm of Clayton, walked about the area with the rest. 
Anne Clayton leaned on the arm of Uncle John. Aunt 
Nesbit and Aunt Maria came behind. To Nina the 
scene was quite new, for a long residence in the North- 
ern States had placed her out of the way of such things ; 
and her shrewd insight into character, and her love of 
drollery, found an abundant satisfaction in the various 
little points and oddities of the scene. They walked to the 
Gordon tent, in which a preliminary meeting was already in 
full course. A circle of men and women, interspersed with 
children, were sitting, with their eyes shut, and their heads 
thrown back, singing at the top of their voices. Occasion- 
ally, one or other would vary the exercises by clapping of 
hands, jumping up straight into the air, falling flat on the 
ground, screaming, dancing, and laughing. 

" 0, set me up on a rock ! " screamed one. 

" I 's sot up ! " screamed another. 

"Glory!" cried the third, and a tempest of "amens" 
poured in between. 

" I's got a sperience ! " cried one, and forthwith began 
piping it out in a high key, while others kept on singing. 

" I 's got a sperience ! " shouted Tomtit, whom Aunt 
Eose, with maternal care, had taken with her. 


"No, you an't, neither ! Sit down!" said Aunt Rose, 
kneading him down as if he had been a batch of biscuits, 
and going on at the same time with her hymn. 

" I 's on the Eock of Ages ! " screamed a neighbor. 

" I want to get on a rock edgeways ! " screamed Tomtit, 
struggling desperately with Aunt Rose's great fat hands. 

" Mind yourself! — I '11 crack you over ! " said Aunt Rose. 
And Tomtit, still continuing rebellious, ivas cracked over 
accordingly, with such force as to send him head-foremost 
on the straw at the bottom of the tent ; an indignity which 
he resented with loud howls of impotent wrath, which, 
however, made no impression in the general whirlwind of 
screaming, shouting, and praying. 

Nina and Uncle John stood at the tent-door laughing 
heartily. Clayton looked on with his usual thoughtful grav- 
ity of aspect. Anne turned her head away with an air of 

" Why don't you laugh ? " said Nina, looking round at 

" It does n't make me feel like it," said Anne. " It 
makes me feel melancholy." 

" Why so ? " 

" Because religion is a sacred thing with me, and I don't 
like to see it travestied," said she. 

" 0," said Nina, " I don't respect religion any the less 
for a good laugh at its oddities. I believe I was born with- 
out any organ of reverence, and so don't feel the incongruity 
of the thing as you do. The distance between laughing and 
praying is n't so very wide in my mind as it is in some 

" We must have charity," said Clayton, "for every reli- 
gious manifestation. Barbarous and half-civilized people 
always find the necessity for outward and bodily demonstra- 
tion in worship ; I suppose because the nervous excitement 
wakes up and animates their spiritual natures, and gets 
them into a receptive state, just as you have to shake up 
sleeping persons and shout in their ears to put them in a 


condition to understand you. I have known real conver- 
sions to take place under just these excitements. " 

" But/' said Anne, " I think we might teach them to be 
decent. These things ought not to be allowed ! " 

" I believe," said Clayton, "intolerance is a rooted vice 
in our nature. The world is as full of different minds and 
bodies as the woods are of leaves, and each one has its 
own habit of growth. And yet our first impulse is to forbid 
everything that would not be proper for us. No, let the 
African scream, dance, and shout, and fall in trances. It 
suits his tropical lineage and blood, as much as our thought- 
ful inward ways do us." 

" I wonder who that is ! " said Nina, as a general move- 
ment on the ground proclaimed the arrival of some one who 
appeared to be exciting general interest. The stranger was 
an unusually tall, portly man, apparently somewhat past the 
middle of life, whose erect carriage, full figure, and red 
cheeks, and a certain dashing frankness of manner, might 
have indicated him as belonging rather to the military than 
the clerical profession. He carried a rifle on his shoulder, 
which he set down carefully against the corner of the preach- 
ers' stand, and went around shaking hands among the com- 
pany with a free and jovial air that might almost be described 
by the term rollicking. 

" Why," said Uncle John, " that 's father Bonnie ! How 
are you, my fine fellow ? " 

"What! you, Mr. Gordon? — How do you do?" said 
father Bonnie, grasping his hand in his, and shaking it 
heartily. " Why, they tell me," he said, looking at him 
with a jovial smile, " that you have fallen from grace ! " 

" Even so ! " said Uncle John. " I am a sad dog, I dare 

" 0, I tell you what," said father Bonnie, " but it takes 
a strong hook and a long line to pull in you rich sinners ! 
Your money-bags and your niggers hang round you like 
mill-stones ! You are too tough for the Gospel ! Ah ! " 
said he, shaking his fist at him, playfully, " but I'm going 


to come down upon you, to-day, with the law, I can tell 
you ! You want the thunders of Sinai ! You must have a 
dose of the law ! " 

"Well, 77 said Uncle John, "thunder away! I suppose 
we need it, all of us. But, now, father Bonnie, you minis- 
ters are always preaching to us poor dogs on the evils of 
riches ; but, somehow, I don 7 t see any of you that are much 
afraid of owning horses, or niggers, or any other good thing 
that you can get your hands on. Now, I hear that you 7 ve 
got a pretty snug little place, and a likely drove to work it. 
You 7 11 have to look out for your own soul, father Bonnie ! " 

A general laugh echoed this retort ; for father Bonnie had 
the reputation of being a shrewder hand at a bargain, and 
of having more expertness in swapping a horse or trading a 
negro, than any other man for six counties round. 

"He's into you, now, old man! 77 said several of the 
bystanders, laughingly. 

" 0, as to that, 77 said father Bonnie, laughing, also, "I 
go in with Paul,- — they that preach the Gospel must live of 
the Gospel. Now, Paul was a man that stood up for his 
rights to live as other folks do. ' Is n 7 t it right,' says he, 
' that those that plant a vineyard should first eat of the fruit ? 
Have n 7 t we power to lead about a sister, a wife ? 7 says he 
And if Paul had lived in our time he would have said a 
drove of niggers, too ! No danger about us ministers being 
hurt by riches, while you laymen are so slow about sup- 
porting the Gospel ! " 

At the elbow of father Bonnie stood a brother minister, 
who was in many respects his contrast. He was tall, thin, 
and stooping, with earnest black eyes, and a serene sweet- 
ness of expression. A thread-bare suit of rusty black, 
evidently carefully worn, showed the poverty of his worldly 
estate. He carried in his hand a small portmanteau, prob- 
ably containing a change of linen, his Bible, and a few 
sermons. Father Dickson was a man extensively known 
through all that region. He was one of those men among 
the ministers of America, who keep alive our faith in Chris- 


tianity, and renew on earth the portrait of the old apostle : 
" In journeyings often, in weariness and painfulness, in 
watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, 
in cold and nakedness. Besides those things that are with- 
out, that which cometh upon them daily, the care of all 
the churches. Who is weak, and they are not weak ? who 
is offended, and they burn not ? " 

Every one in the state knew and respected father Dick- 
son ; and, like the generality of the world, people were 
very well pleased, and thought it extremely proper and 
meritorious for him to bear weariness and painfulness, hun- 
ger and cold, in their spiritual service, leaving to them the 
right of attending or not attending to him, according to 
their own convenience. Father Dickson was one of those 
who had never yielded to the common customs and habits 
of the country in regard to the holding of slaves. A few, 
who had been left him by a relation, he had at great trouble 
and expense transported to a free state, and settled there 
comfortably. The world need not trouble itself with seek- 
ing to know or reward such men ; for the world cannot 
know and has no power to reward them. Their citizenship 
is in heaven, and all that can be given them in this life is 
like a morsel which a peasant gives in his cottage to him 
who to-morrow will reign over a kingdom. 

He had stood listening to the conversation thus far with the 
grave yet indulgent air with which he generally listened to 
the sallies of his ministerial brothers. Father Bonnie, though 
not as much respected or confided in as father Dickson, had, 
from the frankness of his manners, and a certain rude but 
effective style of eloquence, a more general and apparent pop- 
ularity. He produced more sensation on the camp-ground ; 
could sing louder and longer, and would often rise into 
flights of eloquence both original and impressive. Many 
were offended by the freedom of his manner out of the pul- 
pit ; and the stricter sort were known to have said of him, 
"that when out he never ought to be in, and when in 


never out." As the laugh that rose at his last sally died 
away, he turned to father Dickson, and said : 

" What do you think?" 

" I don't think," said father Dickson, mildly, "that you 
would ever have found Paul leading a drove of negroes." 

" Why not, as well as Abraham, the father of the faith- 
ful ? Did n't he have three hundred trained servants ?" 

" Servants, perhaps ; but not slaves ! " said father Dick- 
son, " for they all bore arms. For my part, I think that the 
buying, selling, and trading, of human beings for purposes 
of gain, is a sin in the sight of God." 

"Well, now, father Dickson, I wouldn't have thought 
you had read your Bible to so little purpose as that ! I 
would n't believe it ! What do you say to Moses ? " 

" He led out a whole army of fugitive slaves through the 
Red Sea," said father Dickson. 

" Well, I tell you, now," said father Bonnie, "if the buy- 
ing, selling, or holding, of a slave for the sake of gain, is, as 
you say, a sin, then three fourths of all the Episcopalians, 
Methodists, Baptists, and Presbyterians, in the slave states 
of the Union, are of the devil ! " 

" I think it is a sin, notwithstanding," said father Dick- 
son, quietly. 

" Well, but does n't Moses say expressly, ' Ye shall buy 
of the heathen round about you ' ? " 

" There 's into him ! " said a Georgia trader, who, having 
camped with a coffle of negroes in the neighborhood, had 
come up to camp-meeting. 

" All those things," said father Dickson, " belong to the 
old covenant, which Paul says was annulled for the weak- 
ness and unprofitableness thereof, and have nothing to do 
with us, who have risen with Christ. We have got past 
Mount Sinai and the wilderness, and have come unto Mount 
Zion ; and ought to seek the things that are above, where 
Christ sitteth." 

" I say, brother," said another of the ministers, tapping 
him on the shoulder, " it 's time for the preaching to begin, 


You can finish your discussion some other time. Come, 
father Bonnie, come forward, here, and strike up the hymn." 
Father Bonnie accordingly stepped to the front of the 
stand, and with him another minister, of equal height and 
breadth of frame, and, standing with their hats on, they 
uplifted, in stentorian voices, the following hymn : 

" Brethren, don't you hear the sound ? 
The martial trumpet now is blowing ; 
Men in order 'listing round, 

And soldiers to the standard flowing." 

As the sound of the hymn rolled through the aisles and 
arches of the wood, the heads of different groups, who had 
been engaged in conversation, were observed turning toward 
the stand, and voices from every part of the camp-ground 
took up the air, as, suiting the action to the words, they 
began flowing to the place of preaching. The hymn went 
on, keeping up the same martial images : 

" Bounty offered, life and peace ; 
To every soldier this is given, 
When the toils of life shall cease, 

A mansion bright, prepared in heaven.'' 

As the throng pressed up, and came crowding from the 
distant aisles of the wood, the singers seemed to exert 
themselves to throw a wilder vehemence into the song, 
stretching out their arms and beckoning eagerly. They 
went on singing : 

" You need not fear ; the cause is good, 
Let who will to the crown aspire : 
In this cause the martyrs bled, 
And shouted victory in the fire. 

" In this cause let 's follow on, 

And soon we '11 tell the pleasing story, 
How by faith we won the crown, 

And fought our way to life and glory. 


" 0, ye rebels, come and 'list ! 

The officers .are now recruiting : 
Why will you in sin persist, 

Or waste your time in vain disputing? 

" All excuses now are vain ; 

For, if you do not sue for favor, 
Down you'll sink to endless pain, 
And bear the wrath of God forever.'' 

There is always something awful in the voice of the mul- 
titude. It would seem as if the breath that a crowd 
breathed out together, in moments of enthusiasm, carried 
with it a portion of the dread and mystery of their own im- 
mortal natures. The whole area before the pulpit, and in 
the distant aisles of the forest, became one vast, surging sea 
of sound, as negroes and whites, slaves and freemen, saints 
and sinners, slave-holders, slave-hunters, slave-traders, min- 
isters, elders, and laymen, alike joined in the pulses of that 
mighty song. A flood of electrical excitement seemed to 
rise with it, as, with a voice of many waters, the rude chant 
went on : 

" Ilark ! the victors singing loud ! 

Emanuel's chariot-wheels are rumbling ; 
Mourners weeping through the crowd, 
And Satan's kingdom down is tumbling ! " 

Our friend, Ben Daldn, pressed to the stand, and, with 
tears streaming down his cheeks, exceeded all others in the 
energy of his vociferations. Ben had just come from almost 
a fight with another slave-hunter, who had boasted a better- 
trained pack of dogs than his own ; and had broken away to 
hurry to the camp-ground, with the assurance that he 'd 
" give him fits when the preachin' was over ; 7; and now he 
stood there, tears rolling down his cheeks, singing with the 
heartiest earnestness and devotion. What shall we make 
'of it? Poor heathen Ben ! is it anymore out of the way 
for him to think of being a Christian in this manner, than 
for some of his more decent brethren, who take Sunday 


passage for eternity in the cushioned New York or Boston 
pews, and solemnly drowse through very sleepy tunes, un- 
der a dim, hazy impression that they are going to heaven ? 
Of the two, we think Ben's chance is the best ; for, in some 
blind way, he does think himself a sinner, and in need of 
something he calls salvation ; and, doubtless, while the tears 
stream down his face, the poor fellow makes a new resolve 
against the whiskey-bottle, while his more respectable sleepy 
brethren never think of making one against the cotton-bale. 

Then there was his rival, also, Jim Stokes, — a surly, foul- 
mouthed, swearing fellow, — he joins in the chorus of the 
hymn, and feels a troublous, vague yearning, deep clown 
within him, which makes him for the moment doubt whether 
he had better knock down Ben at the end of the meeting. 

As to Harry, who stood also among the crowd, the words 
and tune recalled but too vividly the incidents of his morn- 
ing's interview with Dred, and with it the tumultuous boil- 
ing of his bitter controversy with the laws of the society in 
which he found himself. In hours of such high excitement, 
a man seems to have an intuitive perception of the whole 
extent and strength of what is within himself; and, if there 
be anything unnatural or false in his position, he realizes it 
with double intensity. 

Mr. John Gordon, likewise, gave himself up, without resist- 
ance, to be swayed by the feeling of the hour. He sung 
with enthusiasm, and wished he was a soldier of some- 
body, going somewhere, or a martyr shouting victory in 
the fire ; and if the conflict described had been with any 
other foe than his own laziness and self-indulgence — had 
there been any outward, tangible enemy, at the moment — 
he would doubtless have enlisted, without loss of time. 

When the hymn was finished, however, there was a gen- 
eral wiping of eyes, and they all sat down to listen to the 
sermon. Father Bonnie led off in an animated strain. His 
discourse was like the tropical swamp, bursting out with a 
lush abundance of every kind of growth — grave, gay, gro- 
tesque, solemn, fanciful, and even coarse caricature, pro- 


voking the broadest laughter. The audience were swayed 
hj him like trees before the wind. There were not wanting 
touches of rude pathos, as well as earnest appeals. The 
meeting was a union one of Presbyterians and Methodists, in 
which the ministers of both denominations took equal part ; 
and it was an understood agreement among them, of course, 
that they were not to venture upon polemic ground, or attack 
each other's peculiarities of doctrine. But Abijah's favorite 
preacher could not get through a sermon without some quite 
pointed exposition of scripture bearing on his favorite doc- 
trine of election, which caused the next minister to run a 
vehement tilt on the correlative doctrines of free grace, 
with a eulogy on John Wesley. The auditors, meanwhile, 
according to their respective sentiments, encouraged each 
preacher with a cry of " Amen ! " " Glory be to God ! " 
" Go on, brother ! " and other similar exclamations. 

About noon the services terminated, pro tern., and the 
audience dispersed themselves to their respective tents 
through the grove, where there was an abundance of chat- 
ting, visiting, eating, and drinking, as if the vehement de- 
nunciations and passionate appeals of the morning had been 
things of another state of existence. Uncle John, in the 
most cheery possible frame of mind, escorted his party into 
the woods, and assisted them in unpacking a hamper con- 
taining wine, cold fowls, cakes, pies, and other delicacies 
which Aunt Katy had packed for the occasion. 

Old Tiff had set up his tent in a snug little nook on the 
banks of the stream, where he informed passers by that it 
was his young inas'r and missis's establishment, and that he, 
Tiff, had come to wait on them. With a good-natured view 
of doing him a pleasure, Nina selected a spot for their 
nooning at no great distance, and spoke in the most gra- 
cious and encouraging manner to them, from time to time. 

" See, now, can't you, how real quality behaves dem- 
selves ! " he said, grimly, to Old Hundred, who came up 
bringing the carriage-cushions for the party to sit down 
upon. " Real quality sees into things ! I tell ye what, 


blood sees into blood. Miss Nina sees dese yer chil'en an't 
de common sort — dat 's what she does ! " 

" Umph ! " said Old Hundred, " such a muss as ye keep 
up about yer chil'en ! Tell you what, dey an't no better 
dan oder white trash ! " 

" Now, you talk dat ar wa} r , I '11 knock you down ! " said 
Old Tiff, who, though a peaceable and law-abiding creature, 
in general, was driven, in desperation, to the last resort of 

" John, what are you saying to Tiff?" said Nina, who 
had overheard some of the last words. " Go back to your 
own tent, and don't you trouble him ! I have taken him 
under my protection." 

The party enjoyed their dinner with infinite relish, and 
Nina amused herself in watching Tiff's cooking prepara- 
tions. Before departing to the preaching-ground, he had 
arranged a slow fire, on which a savory stew had been all 
the morning simmering, and which, on the taking off of the 
pot-lid, diffused an agreeable odor through the place. 

" I say, Tiff, how delightfully that smells ! " said Nina, 
getting up, and looking into the pot. "Wouldn't Miss 
Fanny be so kind as to favor us with a taste of it ? " 

Fanny, to whom Tiff punctiliously referred the question, 
gave a bashful consent. But who shall describe the pride 
and glory that swelled the heart of Tiff as he saw a bowl 
of his stew smoking among the Gordon viands, praised and 
patronized by the party ? And, when Nina placed on their 
simple board — literally a board, and nothing more — a 
small loaf of frosted cake, in exchange, it certainly required 
all the grace of the morning exercises to keep Tiff within 
due bounds of humility. He really seemed to dilate with 

" Tiff, how did you like the sermon ? " said Nina. 

"Dey's pretty far, Miss Nina. Der's a good^ deal o' 
quality preaching." 

" What do you mean by quality preaching, Tiff ? " 

" Why, dat ar kind dat 's good for quality — full of long 


words, you know. I spects it 's very good ; but poor nig- 
ger like me can't see his way through it. You see, Miss 
Nina, what I \s studdin' on, lately, is, how to get dese yer 
chil'en to Canaan ; and I hars fus with one ear, and den with 
t' oder, but 'pears like an't clar 'bout it, yet. Dere 's a heap 
about mose everything else, and it's all very good ; but 
'pears like I an't clar, arter all, about dat ar. Dey says, 
' Come to Christ ; ' and I says, ' Whar is he, any how ? ' Bress 
you, I want to come ! Dey talks 'bout going in de gate, 
and knocking at de do', and 'bout marching on de road, and 
'bout fighting and being soldiers of de cross ; and de Lord 
knows, now, I 'd be glad to get de chil'en through any gate ; 
and I could take 'em on my back and travel all day, if dere 
was any road ; and if dere was a do', bless me, if dey 
would n't hear Old Tiff a rapping ! I spects de Lord would 
have fur to open it — would so. But, arter all, when de 
preaching is done, dere don't 'pear to be nothing to it. 
Dere an't no gate, dere an't no do', nor no way ; and dere 
an't no fighting, 'cept when Ben Dakin and Jim Stokes get 
jawing about der dogs ; and everybody comes back eating 
der dinner quite comf 'table, and 'pears like dere wan't no 
such ting dey 's been preaching 'bout. Dat ar troubles me 
— does so — 'cause I wants fur to get dese yer chil'en in 
de kingdom, some way or oder. I did n't know but some 
of de quality would know more 'bout it." 

" Hang me, if I have n't felt just so ! " said Uncle John. 
" When they were singing that hymn about enlisting and 
being a soldier, if there had been any fighting' doing any- 
where, I should have certainly gone right into it ; and the 
preaching always stirs me up terribly. But, then, as Tiff 
says, after it 's all over, why, there 's dinner to be eaten, 
and I can't see anything better than to eat it ; and then, 
by the time I have drank two or three glasses of wine, it 's 
all gone. Now, that 's just the way with me ! " 

" Dey' says," said Tiff, " dat we must wait for de blessing 
to come down upon us, and Aunt Bose says it 's dem dat 
shouts dat gets de blessing ; and I 's been shouting till I 's 


most beat out, but I has n't got it. Den, one of clem said 
none of dem could get it but de 'lect ; but, den, t' oder one, he 
seemed to tink different ; and in de meeting dey tells about 
de scales falling from der eyes, — and I wished dey fall from 
mine — I do so ! Perhaps, Miss Nina, now, you could tell 
me someting." 

" 0, don't ask me ! " said Nina ; " I don't know anything 
about these things. I think I feel a little like Uncle John," 
she said, turning to Clayton. " There are two kinds of 
sermons and hymns ; one gets me to sleep, and the other 
excites and stirs me up in a general kind of way ; but they 
don't either seem to do me real good." 

" For my part, I am such an enemy to stagnation," said 
Clayton, "that I think there is advantage in everything 
that stirs up the soul, even though we see no immediate 
results. I listen to music, see pictures, as far as I can, 
uncritically. I say, ' Here I am ; see what you can do with 
me.' So I present myself to almost all religious exercises- 
It is the most mysterious part of our nature. 1 do not pre- 
tend to understand it, therefore never criticize." 

"For my part," said Anne, "there is so much in the 
wild freedom of these meetings that shocks my taste and 
sense of propriety, that I am annoyed more than I am ben- 

" There spoke the true, well-trained conventionalist," said 
Clayton. " But look around you. See, in this wood, 
among these flowers, and festoons of vine, and arches of 
green, how many shocking, unsightly growths ! You would 
not have had all this underbrush, these dead limbs, these 
briers running riot over trees, and sometimes choking and 
killing them. You would have well-trimmed trees and vel- 
vet turf. But I love briers, dead limbs, and all, for their 
very savage freedom. Every once in a while you see in a 
wood a jessamine, or a sweet-brier, or grape-vine, that 
throws itself into a gracefulness of growth which a landscape 
gardener would go down on his knees for, but cannot get. 
Nature resolutely denies it to him. She says, ' No ! I keep 


this for my own. You won't have my wilclness — my free- 
dom ; very well, then you shall not have the graces that 
spring from it.' Just so it is with men. Unite any assem- 
bly of common men in a great enthusiasm, — work them up 
into an abandon, and let every one 'let go/ and speak as 
nature prompts, — • and you will have brush, underwood, 
briers, and all grotesque growths ; but, now and then, some 
thought or sentiment will be struck out with a freedom or 
power such as you cannot get in any other way. You cul- 
tivated people are much mistaken when you despise the 
enthusiasms of the masses. There is more truth than you 
think in the old ' vox populi, vox Dei.' " 

" What 's that ? " said Nina. 

" ' The voice of the people is the voice of God.' There 
is truth in it. I never repent my share in a popular excite- 
ment, provided it be of the higher sentiments ; and I do not 
ask too strictly whether it has produced any tangible results. 
I reverence the people, as I do the woods, for the wild, 
grand freedom with which their humanity develops itself." 

" I 'm afraid, Nina," said Aunt Nesbit, in a low tone, to 
the latter, " I ; m afraid he is n't orthodox." 

" What makes you think so, aunt ? " 

" 0, I don't know ; his talk has n't the real sound." 

" You want something that ends in ' ation,' don't you, 
aunt? — justification, sanctification, or something of that 

% ;fc >£ # >|; % ^: 

Meanwhile, the department of Abijah Skinflint exhibited 
a decided activity. This was a long, low booth, made of 
poles, and roofed with newly-cut green boughs. Here the 
whiskey-barrel was continually pouring forth its supplies to 
customers who crowded around it. Abijah sat on the mid- 
dle of a sort of rude counter, dangling his legs, and chew- 
ing a straw, while his negro was busy in helping his various 
customers. Abijah, as we said, being a particularly high 
Calvinist, was recreating himself by carrying on a discus- 


sion with a fat, little, turnipy brother, of the Methodist per- 

"I say," he said, " Stringfellow put it into you Metho- 
dists, this morning' ! Hit the nail on the head, I thought ! " 

"Not a bit of it!" said the other, contemptuously. 
" Why, elder Baskum chawed him up completely ! There 
wan't nothin' left of him I " 

" Well," said Abijah, " strange how folks will see things ! 
Why, it 's just as clar to me that all things is decreed ! 
Why, that ar nails everything up tight and handsome. It 
gives a fellow a kind of comfort to think on it. Things is 
just as they have got to be. All this free-grace stuff is 
drefful loose talk. If things is been decreed 'fore the world 
was made, well, there seems to be some seuse in their com- 
ing to pass. But, if everything kind of turns up when- 
ever folks think on 't, it 's a kind of shaky business." 

" I don't like this tying up things so tight," said the 
other, who evidently was one of the free, jovial order. " I 
go in for the freedom of the will. Free Gospel, and free 

"For my part," said Abijah, rather grimly, "if things 
was managed my way, I should n't commune with nobody 
that did n't believe in election, up to the hub." 

"You strong electioners think you 's among the elect! " 
said one of the bystanders. " You would n't be so crank 
about it, if you did n't ! Now, see here : if everything is 
decreed, how am I going to help myself? " 

" That ar is none of my look-out," said Abijah. " But 
there 's a pint my mind rests upon — everything is fixed as 
it can be, and it makes a man mighty easy." 

*jf. % >k ■}{ -%. 

In another part of the camp-ground, Ben Dakin was sit- 
ing in his tent door, caressing one of his favorite dogs, and 
partaking his noontide repast with his wife and child. 

" I declar," said Ben, wiping his mouth, " wife, I intend 
to go into it, and sarve the Lord, now, full chisel ! If I 
catch the next lot of niggers, I intend to give half the 


money towards keeping up preaching 1 somewhere round 
here. I 'm going to enlist, now, and be a soldier." 

" And," said his wife, " Ben, just keep clear of Abijah 
Skinflint's counter, won't you ? " 

" Well, I will, durned if I won't ! " said Ben. " I '11 be 
moderate. A fellow wants a glass or two, to sti'ike up the 
hymn on, you know ; but I '11 be moderate." 

The Georgia trader, who had encamped in the neighbor- 
hood, now came up. 

" Do you believe, stranger," said he, " one of them 
durned niggers of mine broke loose and got in the swamps, 
while I was at meeting this morning ! Couldn't you take 
your dog, here, and give 'em a run ? I just gave nine hun- 
dred dollars for that fellow, cash down." 

" Ho ! what you going to him for? " said Jim Stokes, a 
short, pursy, vulgar-looking individual, dressed in a hunt- 
ing-shirt of blue Kentucky jean, who just then came up. 
" Why, durn ye, his dogs an't no breed 't all ! Mine 's the 
true grit, I can tell you ; they 's the true Florida blood-hounds ! 
I 's seen one of them ar dogs shake a nigger in his mouth 
like he 'd been a sponge." 

Poor Ben's new-found religion could not withstand this 
sudden attack of his spiritual enemy ; and, rousing himself, 
notwithstanding the appealing glances of his wife, he 
stripped up his sleeves, and, squaring off, challenged his 
rival to a fight. 

A crowd gathered round, laughing and betting-, and 
cheering on the combatants with slang oaths and expres- 
sions, such as we will not repeat, when the concourse was 
routed by the approach of father Bonnie on the outside of 
the ring. 

" Look here, boys, what works of the devil have you got 
round here ? None of this on the camp-ground ! This is the 
Lord's ground, here ; so shut up your swearing, and don't 

A confused murmur of voices now began to explain to 
father Bonnie the cause of the trouble. 


" Ho, ho ! " said he, " let the nigger run ; you can catch 
him fast enough when the meetings are over. You come 
here to 'tend to your salvation. Ah, don't you be swearing 
and blustering round ! Come, boys, join in a hymn with 
me." So saying, he struck up a well-known air : 

" When Israel went to Jericho, 
0, good Lord, in my soul ! " 

in which one after another joined, and the rising tumult 
was soon assuaged. 

" I say," said father Bonnie to the trader, in an under 
tone, as he was walking away, "you got a good cook in 
your lot, hey ? 

" Got a prime one," said the trader ; "an A number 
one cook, and no mistake ! Picked her up real cheap, and 
I '11 let you have her for eight hundred dollars, being as you 
are a minister." 

" You must think the Gospel a better trade than it is," 
said father Bonnie, " if you think a minister can afford to 
pay at that figure ! " 

" Why," said the trader, " you have n't seen her ; it 's 
dirt cheap for her, I can tell you ! A sound, strong, hearty 
woman ; a prudent, careful housekeeper ; a real pious Meth- 
odist, a member of a class-meeting ! Why, eight hundred 
dollars an't anything ! I ought to get a thousand for her ; 
but I don't hear preaching for nothing, — always think right 
to make a discount to ministers ! " 

" Why could n't you bring her in ? " said father Bonnie. 
" Maybe I '11 give you seven hundred and fifty for her." 

" Could n't do that, no way ! " said the trader. " Could n't, 
indeed! " 

" Well, after the meetings are over I '11 talk about it." 

" She 's got a child, four years old," said the trader, with 
a little cough; " healthy, likely child; I suppose I shall 
want a hundred dollars for him ! " 

" 0, that won't do 1 " said father Bonnie. " I don't want 
any more children round my place than I 've got now ! " 


"But, I tell you," said the trader, "it's a likely boy. 
Why, the keeping- of him won't cost you anything, and be- 
fore you think of it you '11 have a thousand-dollar hand 
grown on your own place." 

" Well," said father Bonnie, " 1 '11 think of it ! " 
In the evening the scene on the camp-ground was still 
more picturesque and impressive. Those who conduct 
camp-meetings are generally men who, without much rea- 
soning upon the subject, fall into a sort of tact, in influencing 
masses of mind, and pressing into the service all the great 
life forces and influences of nature. A kind of rude poetry 
pervades their minds, colors their dialect, and influences 
their arrangements. The solemn and harmonious grandeur 
of night, with all its mysterious power of exalting the pas- 
sions and intensifying the emotions, has ever been appre- 
ciated, and used by them with even poetic skill. The day 
had been a glorious one in June ; the sky of that firm, clear 
blue, the atmosphere of that crystalline clearness, which 
often gives to the American landscape such a sharply- 
defined outline, and to the human system such an intense 
consciousness of life. The evening sun went down in a 
broad sea of light, and even after it had sunk below the 
purple horizon, flashed back a flood of tremulous rose-col- 
ored radiance, which, taken up by a thousand filmy clouds, 
made the whole sky above like a glowing tent of the most 
ethereal brightness. The shadows of the forest aisles were 
pierced by the rose-colored rays ; and, as they gradually 
faded, star after star twinkled out, and a broad moon, 
ample and round, rose in the purple zone of the sky. When 
she had risen above the horizon but a short space, her light 
was so resplendent, and so profuse, that it was decided to 
conduct the evening service by that alone ; and when, at 
the sound of the hymn, the assembly poured in and arranged 
themselves before the preaching-stand, it is probable that 
the rudest heart present was somewhat impressed with the 
silent magnificence by which God was speaking to them 
through his works. As the hymn closed, father Bonnie, 


advancing 1 to the front of the stage, lifted his hands, and 
pointing to the purple sky, and in a deep and not unmelo- 
dious voice, repeated the words of the Psalmist : 

" The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firma- 
ment showeth his handy-work ; clay unto day uttereth 
speech, and night unto night showeth knowledge." 

" 0, ye sinners ! " he exclaimed, " look up at the moon, 
there, walking in her brightness, and think over your oaths, 
and your cursings, and your drinkings ! Think over your 
backbitings, and your cheatings ! think over your quarrel- 
lings and your fightings ! How do they look to you now, 
with that blessed moon shining down upon you ? Don't 
you see the beauty of our Lord God upon her ? Don't you 
see how the saints walk in white with the Lord, like her ? 
I dare say some of you, now, have had a pious mother, or a 
pious wife, or a pious sister, that 's gone to glory ; and there 
they are walking with the Lord ! — walking with the Lord, 
through the sky, and looking down on you, sinners, just as 
that moon looks down ! And what does she see you doing, 
your wife, or your mother, or sister, that 's in glory ? Does 
she see all your swearings, and your drinkings, and your 
fightings, and your hankerings after money, and your horse- 
racings, and your cock-fightings ? 0, sinners, but you are 
a bad set ! I tell you the Lord is looking now down on 
you, out of that moon ! He is looking down in mercy ! 
But, I tell you, he '11 look down quite another way, one of 
these days ! 0, there '11 be a time of wrath, by and by, if 
you don't repent ! 0, what a time there was at Sinai, 
years ago, when- the voice of the trumpet waxed louder 
and louder, and the mountain was all of a smoke, and there 
were thunderings and lightnings, and the Lord descended 
on Sinai ! That 's nothing to what you '11 see, by and by ! 
No more moon looking down on you ! No more stars, 
but the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the 
elements shall melt with fervent heat ! Ah ! did you ever 
see a fire in the woods ? I have ; and I 've seen the fire on 
the prairies, and it rolled like a tempest, and men and horses, 


and everything, had to run before it. I have seen it roar- 
ing and crackling through the woods, and great trees shriv- 
elled in a minute like tinder ! I have seen it flash over trees 
seventy-five and a hundred feet high, and in a minute they 'd 
be standing pillars of fire, and the heavens were all a blaze, 
and the crackling and roaring was like the sea in a storm. 
There 's a judgment-day for you ! 0, sinner, what will 
become of you in that day ? Never cry, Lord, Lord ! Too 
late — too late, man ! You woidd n't take mercy when it 
was offered, and now you shall have wrath ! No place to 
hide ! The heavens and earth are passing away, and there 
shall be no more sea I There ; s no place for you now in 
God's universe." 

By this time there were tumultuous responses from the 
audience, of groans, cries, clapping of hands, and mingled 
shouts of glory and amen ! 

The electric shout of the multitude acted on the preacher 
again, as he went on, with a yet fiercer energy. " Now is 
your time, sinners ! Now is your time ! Come unto the 
altar, and God's people will pray for you ! Now is the day 
of grace ! Come up ! Come up, you that have got pious 
fathers and mothers in glory ! Come up, father ! come up, 
mother ! come up, brother ! Come, young man ! we want you 
to come ! Ah, there 's a hardened sinner, off there ! I see 
his lofty looks ! Come up, come up ! Come up, you rich 
sinners ! You '11 be poor enough in the day of the Lord, I 
can tell you ! Come up, you young women ! You daugh- 
ters of Jerusalem, with your tinkling ornaments ! Come, 
saints of the Lord, and labor with me in prayer. Strike up 
a hymn, brethren, strike up the hymn ! " And a thousand 
voices commenced the hymn, 

" Stop, poor sinner, stop and think, 
Before you further go ! " 

And, meanwhile, ministers and elders moved around the 
throng, entreating and urging one and another to come and 
kneel before the stand. Multitudes rushed forward, groans 


and sobs were heard, as the speaker continued, with 
redoubled vehemence. 

" I don't care," said Mr. John Gordon, " who sees me; 
I 'm going up ! I am a poor old sinner, and I ought to be 
prayed for, if anybody." 

Nina shrank back, and clung to Clayton's arm. So vehe- 
ment was the surging feeling of the throng around her, that 
she wept with a wild, tremulous excitement. 

" Do take me out, — it 's dreadful ! " she said. 

Clayton passed his arm round her, and, opening a way 
through the crowd, carried her out beyond the limits, where 
they stood together alone, under the tree. 

"I know I am not good as I ought to be," she said, 
" but I don't know how to be any better. Do you think it 
would do me any good to go up there ? Do you believe in 
these things ? " 

" I sympathize with every effort that man makes to ap- 
proach his Maker," said Clayton ; "these ways do not suit 
me, but I dare not judge them. I cannot despise them. I 
must not make myself a rule for others." 

" But, don't you think," said Nina, " that these things 
do harm sometimes ? " 

" Alas, child, what form of religion does not? It is our 
fatality that everything that does good must do harm. It 's 
the condition of our poor, imperfect life here." 

" I do not like these terrible threats," said Nina. " Can 
fear of fire make me love ? Besides, I have a kind of 
courage in me that always rises up against a threat. It 
is n't my nature to fear." 

" If we may judge our Father by his voice in nature," 
said Clayton, " he deems severity a necessary part of our 
training. How inflexibly and terribly regular are all his 
laws ! Fire and hail, snow and vapor, stormy wind, fulfil- 
ling his word — all these have a crushing regularity in their 
movements, which sho v that he is to be feared as well as 

" But I want to be reli. "ous," said Nina, "entirely apart 


from such considerations. Not driven .by fear, but drawn 
by love. You can guide me about these things, for you 
are religious." 

" I fear I should not be accepted as such in any church," 
said Clayton. " It is my misfortune that I cannot receive 
any common form of faith, though I respect and sympathize 
with all. Generally speaking, preaching only weakens my 
faith ; and I have to forget the sermon in order to recover 
my faith. I do not believe — I know that our moral nature 
needs a thorough regeneration ; and I believe this must 
come through Chi'ist. This is all I am certain of." 

" I wish I were like Milly," said Nina. " She is a Chris- 
tian, I know ; but she has come to it by dreadful sorrows. 
Sometimes I 'm afraid to ask my heavenly Father to make 
me good, because I think it will come by dreadful trials, if 
he does." 

" And I'," said Clayton, speaking with great earnestness, 
"would be willing to suffer anything conceivable, if I could 
only overcome all evil, and come up to my highest ideas of 
good." And, as he spoke, he turned his face up to the 
moonlight with an earnest fervor of expression, that struck 
Nina deeply. 

" I almost shudder to hear you say so ! You don't know 
what it may bring on you ! " 

He looked at her with a beautiful smile, which was a 
peculiar expression of his face in moments of high excite- 

" I say it again ! " he said. " Whatever it involves, let 
it come ! " 

# * * * * * * 

The exercises of the evening went on with a succession 
of addresses, varied by singing of hymns and prayers. In 
the latter part of the time many declared themselves con- 
verts, and were shouting loudly. Father Bonnie came for- 

" Brethren," he shouted, " we i e seeing a day from the 


Lord ! We 've got a glorious time ! 0, brethren, let us 
sing glory to the Lord ! The Lord is coming among us ! ; ' 

The excitement now became general. There was a con- 
fused sound of exhortation, prayers, and hymns, all mixed 
together, from different parts of the ground. But, all of a 
sudden, every one was startled by a sound which seemed to 
come pealing down directly from the thick canopy of pines 
over the heads of the ministers. 

" Woe unto you that desire the day of the Lord ! To 
what end shall it be for you? The day of the Lord shall be 
darkness, and not light ! Blow ye the trumpet in Zion ! 
Sound an alarm in my holy mountain ! Let all the in 
habitants of the land tremble ! for the day of the Lord 
cometh ! " 

There was deep, sonorous power in the voice that spoke, 
and the words fell pealing down through the air like the 
vibrations of some mighty bell. Men looked confusedly on 
each other ; but, in the universal license of the hour, the 
obscurity of the night, and the multitude of the speakers, 
no one knew exactly whence it came. After a moment's 
pause, the singers were recommencing, when again the same 
deep voice was heard. 

" Take away from me the noise of thy songs, and the mel- 
ody of thy viols ; for I will not hear them, saith the Lord. I 
hate and despise your feast-days ! I will not smell in your 
solemn assemblies ; for your hands are defiled with blood, 
and your fingers are greedy for violence ! Will ye kill, and 
steal, and commit adultery, and swear falsely, and come and 
stand before me, saith the Lord? Ye oppress the poor and 
needy, and hunt the stranger : also in thy skirts is found 
the blood of poor innocents ! and yet ye say, Because I am 
clean shall his anger pass from me ! LTear this, ye that 
swallow up the needy, and make the poor of the land to 
fail, saying, When will the new moon be gone, that we may 
sell corn ? that we may buy the poor for silver, and the 
needy for a pair of shoes ? The Lord hath sworn, saying, 
I will never forget their works. I will surely visit you ! " 


The audience, thus taken, in the obscurity of the evening, 
hy an unknown speaker, whose words seemed to fall appar- 
ently from the clouds, in a voice of such strange and sin- 
gular quality, began to feel a creeping awe stealing over 
them. The high state of electrical excitement under which 
they had been going on, predisposed them to a sort of re- 
vulsion of terror ; and a vague, mysterious panic crept upon 
them, as the boding, mournful voice continued to peal from 
the trees. 

" Hear, ye rebellious people ! The Lord is against this 
nation ! The Lord shall stretch out upon it the line of con- 
fusion, and the stones of emptiness 1 For thou saidst, I will 
ascend into the stars ; I will be as God ! But thou shalt be 
cast out as an abominable branch, and the wild beasts shall 
tread thee down ! Howl, fir-tree, for thou art spoiled ! Open 
thy doors, Lebanon, that the fire may devour thy cedars ! 
for the Lord cometh out of his place to punish the inhab- 
itants of the land ! The Lord shall utter his voice before 
his army, for his camp is very great ! Multitudes ! multi- 
tudes ! in the valley of decision ! For the day of the Lord 
is near in the valley of decision ! The sun and the moon 
shall be dark, and the stars withdraw their shining ; for the 
Lord shall utter his voice from Jerusalem, and the heavens 
and earth shall shake 1 In that d-ay I will cause the sun to 
go down at noon, and darken the whole earth ! And I will 
turn your feasts into mourning, and your songs into lament- 
ation ! Woe to the bloody city ! It is full of lies and robbery ! 
The noise of a whip ! — the noise of the rattling of wheels ! 
— of the prancing horses, and the jumping chariot! The 
horseman lifteth up the sword and glittering spear ! and 
there is a multitude of slain ! There is no end of their 
corpses! — They are stumbling upon the corpses! For, 
Behold, I am against thee, saith the Lord, and I will make 
thee utterly desolate ! " 

There was a fierce, wailing earnestness in the sound of 
these dreadful words, as if they were uttered in a paroxysm 
of affright and horror, by one who stood face to face with 


some tremendous form. And, when the sound ceased, men 
drew in their breath, and looked on each other, and the 
crowd began slowly to disperse, whispering in low voices 
to each other. 

So extremely piercing and so wildly earnest had the 
voice been, that it actually seemed, in the expressive words 
of Scripture, to make every ear to tingle. And, as people 
of rude and primitive habits are always predisposed to 
superstition, there crept through the different groups wild 
legends of prophets strangely commissioned to announce 
coming misfortunes. Some spoke of the predictions of the 
judgment-day ; some talked of comets, and strange signs 
that had preceded wars and pestilences. The ministers 
wondered, and searched around the stand in vain. One 
auditor alone could, had he desired it, make an explanation. 
Harry, who stood near the stand, had recognized the voice. 
But, though he searched, also, around, he could find no one. 

He who spoke was one whose savage familiarity with 
nature gave him the agility and stealthy adroitness of a 
wild animal. And, during the stir and commotion of the 
dispersing audience, he had silently made his way from tree 
to tree, over the very heads of those who were yet wonder- 
ing at his strange, boding words, till at last he descended in 
a distant part of the forest. 

After the service, as father Dickson was preparing to re- 
tire to his tent, a man pulled him by the sleeve. It was the 
Georgia trader. 

" We have had an awful time, to-night ! " said he, looking 
actually pale with terror. " Do you think the judgment-day 
really is coming? " 

" My friend," said father Dickson, "it surely is ! Every 
step we take in life is leading us directly to the judgment- 
seat of Christ ! " 

" Well," said the trader, " but do you think that was 
from the Lord, the last one that spoke ? Durned if he 
did n't say awful things ! — 'nough to make the hair rise 1 
I tell you what, I 've often had doubts about my trade. 


The ministers may prove it 's all right out of the Old Tes- 
tament ; but I 'm durned if I think they know all the things 
that we do ! But, then, I an't so bad as some of 'em. 
But, now, I 've gut a gal out in my gang that 's dreadful 
sick, and I partly promised her I 'd bring a minister to see 

"I'll go with you, friend," said father Dickson; and 
forthwith he began following the trader to the racks where 
their horses were tied. Selecting, out of some hundred 
who were tied there, their own beasts, the two midnight 
travellers soon found themselves trotting along under the 
shadow of the forest's boughs. 

" My friend," said father Dickson, " I feel bound in con- 
science to tell you that I think your trade a ruinous one to 
your soul. I hope you '11 lay to heart the solemn warning 
you 've heard to-night. Why, your own sense can show 
you that a trade can't be right that you'd be afraid to be 
found in if the great judgment-day were at hand." 

" Well, I rather spect you speak the truth ; but, then, 
what makes father Bonnie stand up for 't ? " 

" My friend, I must say that I think father Bonnie up- 
holds a soul-destroying error. I must say that, as con- 
science-bound. I pray the Lord for him and you both. • I put 
it right to your conscience, my friend, whether you think 
you could keep to your trade, and live a Christian life." 

" No ; the fact is, it 's a d d bad business, that 's just 

where 'tis. We an't fit to be trusted with such things that 
come to us — gals and women. Well, I feel pretty bad, I 
tell 3 r ou, to-night; 'cause I know I haven't done right by 
this yer gal. I ought fur to have let her alone ; but, then, 
the devil or something possessed me. And now she has got 
a fever, and screeches awfully. I declar, some things she 
says go right through me ! " 

Father Dickson groaned in spirit over this account, and 
felt himself almost guilty for belonging ostensibly and out- 
wardly to a church which tolerated such evils. He rode 
along by the side of his companion, breaking forth into occa- 


sional ejaculations and snatches of hymns. After a ride of 
about an hour, they arrived at the encampment. A large 
fire had been made in a cleared spot, and smouldering frag- 
ments and brands were lying among the white ashes. One 
or two horses were tied to a neighboring tree, and wagons 
were drawn up by them. Around the fire, in different groups, 
lay about fifteen men and women, with heavy iron shackles 
on their feet, asleep in the moonlight. At a little distance 
from the group, and near to one of the wagons, a blanket 
was spread down on the ground under a tree, on which lay a 
young girl of seventeen, tossing and moaning in a disturbed 
stupor. A respectable-looking mulatto-woman was sitting 
beside her, with a gourd full of water, with which from time 
to time she moistened her forehead. The woman rose as 
the trader came up. 

" Well, Nance, how does she do now ? " said the trader. 

" Mis'able enough ! " said Nance. " She done been toss- 
ing, a throwing round, and crying for her mammy, ever 
since you went away ! " 

" Well, I've brought the minister," said he. "Try, 
Nance, to wake her up ; she '11 be glad to see him." 

The woman knelt down, and took the hand of the sleeper. 
" Emily ! Emily! " she said, " wake up ! " 

The girl threw herself over with a sudden, restless toss. 
" 0, how my head burns! — 0, dear! — 0, my mother I 
Mother! — mother! — mother! — why don't you come to 
me ? " 

Father Dickson approached and knelt the other side of 
her. The mulatto-woman made another effort to bring her 
to consciousness. 

" Emily here 's the minister you was wanting so much! 
Emily, wake up ! " 

The girl slowly opened her eyes — large, tremulous, dark 
eyes. She drew her hand across them, as if to clear her 
sight, and looked wistfully at the woman. 

" Minister ! — minister ! " she said. 

" Yes, minister ! You said you wanted to see one." 


" 0, yes, I did ! " she said, heavily. 

"My daughter!" said father Dickson, "you are very 
sick ! » 

" Yes ! " she said, " very ! And I 'm glad of it ! I 'm 
going- to die ! — I 'm glad of that, too ! That 's all I 've got 
left to be glad of! But I wanted to ask you to write to my 
mother. She is a free woman ; she lives in New York. I 
want you to give my love to her, and tell her not to worry 
any more. Tell her I tried all I could to get to her ; but 
they took us, and mistress was so angry she sold me ! I 
forgive her, too. I don't bear her any malice, 'cause it's 
all over, now ! She used to say I was a wild girl, and 
laughed too loud. I shan't trouble any one that way any 
more ! So that's no matter ! " 

The girl spoke these sentences at long intervals, occa- 
sionally opening her eyes and closing them again in a 
languid manner. Father Dickson, however, who had some 
knowledge of medicine, placed his finger on her pulse, 
which was rapidly sinking. It is the usual instinct, in all 
such cases, to think of means of prolonging life. Father 
Dickson rose, and said to the trader : 

" Unless some stimulus be given her, she will be gone 

very soon 

I » 

The trader produced from his pocket a flask of brandy, 
which he mixed with a little water in a cup, and placed it 
in father Dickson's hand. He kneeled down again, and, 
calling her by name, tried to make her take some. 

"What is it?" said she, opening her wild, glittering 

" It's something to make you feel better." 

" I don't want to feel better ! I want to die ! " she said, 
throwing herself over. " What should I want to live for?" 

What should she ? The words struck father Dickson so 
much that he sat for a while in silence. He meditated in 
his mind how he could reach, with any words, that dying 
ear, or enter with her into that land of trance and mist, 
into whose cloudy circle the soul seemed already to have 


passed. Guided by a subtle instinct, he seated himself by 
the dying girl, and began singing, in a subdued, plaintive 
air, the following well-known h} T run : 

"Hark, my soul ! it is the Lord, 
T is thy Saviour, hear his word ; 
Jesus speaks — he speaks to thee ! 
Say, poor sinner, lov'st thou me ? " 

The melody is one often sung among the negroes ; and 
one which, from its tenderness and pathos, is a favorite 
among them. As oil will find its way into crevices where 
water cannot penetrate, so song will find its way where 
speech can no longer enter. The moon shone full on the 
face of the dying girl, only interrupted by flickering shadows 
of leaves ; and, as father Dickson sung, he fancied he saw 
a slight, tremulous movement of the face, as if the soul, so 
worn and weary, were upborne on the tender pinions of the 
song. He went on singing : 

" Can a mother's tender care 

Cease toward the child she bare ? 
Tes, she may forgetful be : 
Still will I remember thee." 

By the light of the moon, he saw a tear steal from under 
the long lashes, and course slowly down her cheek. lie 
continued his song : 

" Mine is an eternal love, 

Higher than the heights above, 
Deeper than the depths beneath, 
True and faithful — strong as death. 

" Thou shalt see my glory soon, 
When the woj-k of faith is done ; 
Partner of my throne shalt be ! 
Say, poor sinner, lor'st thou me ? " 

0, love of Christ ! which no sin can weary, which no 
lapse of time can change ; from which tribulation, persecu- 


tion, and distress, cannot separate — all-redeeming, all-glori- 
fying - , changing even death and despair to the gate of 
heaven ! Thou hast one more triumph here in the wilder- 
ness, in the slave-coffle, and thou comest to bind up the 

As the song ceased, she opened her eyes. 

" Mother used to sing that ! " she said. 

" And can you believe in it, daughter ? " 

" Yes," she said, " I see Him now ! He loves me ! Let 
me go ! " 

There followed a few moments of those stragglings and 
shiverings which are the birth-pangs of another life, and 
Emily lay at rest. 

Father Dickson, kneeling by her side, poured out the ful- 
ness of his heart in an earnest prayer. Kising, he went up 
to the trader, and, taking his hand, said to him, 

" My friend, this may be the turning-point with your soul 
for eternity. It has pleased the Lord to show you the evil 
of your ways ; and now my advice to you is, break off your 
sins at once, and do works meet for repentance. Take off 
the shackles of these poor creatures, and tell them they are 
at liberty to go." 

"Why, bless your soul, sir, this yer lot's worth ten 
thousand dollars ! " said the trader, who was not prepared 
for so close a practical application. 

Do not be too sure, friend, that the trader is peculiar in 
this. The very same argument, though less frankly stated, 
holds in the bonds of Satan many extremely well-bred, re- 
fined, respectable men, who would gladly save their souls, 
if they could afford the luxury. 

" My friend," said father Dickson, using the words of a 
very close and uncompromising preacher of old, "what 
shall it profit a man if he should gain the whole world, and 
lose his own soul ? " 

"I know that," said the trader, doubtfully; "but it's a 
very hard case, this. I '11 think about it, though. But 


there 's father Bonnie wants to buy Nance. It would be a 
pity to disappoint him. But I '11 think it over." 

Father Dickson returned to the camp-ground between one 
and two o'clock at night, and, putting away his horse, took 
his way to the ministers' tent. Here he found father Bonnie 
standing out in the moonlight. He had been asleep within 
the tent ; but it is to be confessed that the interior of a 
crowded tent on a camp-ground is anything but favorable to 
repose. He therefore came out into the fresh air, and was 
there when father Dickson came back to enter the tent. 

" Well, brother, where have you been so late ? " said 
father Bonnie. 

" I have been looking for a few sheep in the wilderness, 
whom everybody neglects," said father Dickson. And then, 
in a tone tremulous from agitation, he related to him the 
scene he had just witnessed. 

"Do you see," he said, " brother, what iniquities you are 
countenancing ? Now, here, right next to our camp, a slave- 
come encamped ! Men and women, guilty of no crime, 
driven in fetters through our land, shaming ms in the sight 
of every Christian nation ! What horrible, abominable 
iniquities are these poor traders tempted to commit ! What 
perfect hells are the great trading-houses, where men, 
women, and children, are made merchandise of, and where 
no light of the Gospel ever enters ! And, when this poor 
trader is convicted of sin, and wants to enter into the king- 
dom, you stand there to apologize for his sins ! Brother 
Bonnie, I much fear you are the stumbling-block over which 
souls will stumble into hell. I don't think you believe your 
argument from the Old Testament, yourself. You must see 
that it has no kind of relation to such kind of slavery as we 
have in this country. There 's an awful scripture which 
saith : ' He feedeth on ashes ; a deceived heart hath turned 
him aside, so that he cannot deliver his soul, nor say, Is 
there not a lie in my right hand ? ' " 

The earnestness with which father Dickson spoke, com- 
bined with the reverence commonlv entertained for his 


piety, gave great force to his words. The reader will not 
therefore wonder to hear that father Bonnie, impulsive and 
easily moved as he was, wept at the account, and was 
moved hy the exhortation. Nor will he be surprised to learn 
that, two weeks after, father Bonnie drove a brisk bargain 
with the same trader for three new hands. 

The trader had discovered that the judgment-day was not 
coming yet a while ; and father Bonnie satisfied himself that 
Noah, when he awoke from his wine, said, " Cursed be Ca- 

^ # ^ if: ^ Jfc 5|c 

We have one scene more to draw before we dismiss the 
auditors of the camp-meeting. 

At a late hour the Gordon carriage was winding its way 
under the silent, checkered, woodland path. Harry, who 
came slowly on a horse behind, felt a hand laid on his bridle. 
With a sudden start, he stopped. 

" 0, Dred, is it you ? How dared you — how could you 
be so imprudent ? How dared you come here, when you 
know you risk your life ? " 

" Life ! " said the other, " what is life ? " He that loveth 
his life shall lose it. Besides, the Lord said unto me, Go ! 
The Lord is with me as a mighty and terrible one ! Harry, 
did you mark those men ? Hunters of men, their hands 
red with the blood of the poor, all seeking unto the Lord ! 
Ministers who buy and sell us ! Is this a people prepared 
for the Lord ? I left a man dead in the swamps, whom their 
dogs have torn ! His wife is a widow — his children, or- 
phans ! They eat and wipe their mouth, and say, ' What 
have I done ? ' The temple of the Lord, the temple of the 
Lord, are we ! " 

" I know it," said Harry, gloomily. 

" And you join yourself unto them ? " 

" Don't speak to me any more about that ! I won't be- 
tray you, but I won't consent to have blood shed. My 
mistress is my sister." 

" 0, yes, to be sure ! They read Scripture, don't they ? 


Cast out the children of the bond-woman ! That 's Scrip- 
ture for them ! " 

"Dred," said Harry, " I love her better than I love my- 
self. I will fight for her to the last, but never against 
her, nor hers ! ,; 

" And you will serve Tom Gordon ? " said Dred. 

" Never ! " said Harry. 

Dred stood still a moment. Through an opening among 
the branches the moonbeams streamed down on his wild, 
dark figure. Harry remarked his eye fixed before him on 
vacancy, the pupil swelling out in glassy fulness, with a 
fixed, somnambulic stare. After a moment, he spoke, in a 
hollow, altered voice, like that of a sleep-walker : 

" Then shall the silver cord be loosed, and the golden 
bowl be broken. Yes, cover up the grave — cover it up 1 
Now, hurry ! come to me, or he will take thy wife for a 
prey ! " 

" Dred, what do you mean ? " said Harry. "What 's the 
matter ? " He shook him by the shoulder. 

Dred rubbed his eyes, and stared on Harry. 

" I must go back," he said, " to my den. 'Foxes have 
holes, the birds of the air have nests/ and in the habitation 
of dragons the Lord hath opened a way for his outcasts ! " 

He plunged into the thickets, and was gone. 




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VIOLET ; A Fairy Story. Illustrated by Billings. Price 50 cents ; gilt, 75 cents. 

The publishers desire to call attention to this exquisite little story. It breathes such a love of Nature 
in all her forms ; inculcates such excellent principles, and is so full of beauty and simplicity, that it will 
delight not Only children, but all readers of unsophisticated tastes. The author seems to teach the gentle 
creed which Coleridge has embodied in those familiar lines — 

" He prayeth well who loveth well 
Both man, and bird, and beast." 

DAISY; or tile Fairy Spectacles. By the author of "Violet." Illustrated. Price 50 cents • 
gilt, 75 cents. 

THE GREAT ROSY DIAMOND. By Mrs. Anne Augusta Carter. With illustrations by 
Billings. Price 50 cents ; gilt 75 cents. 
This is a most charming story, from an author of reputation in this department, both in England and 
America. The machinery of Fairy Land is employed with great ingenuity ; the style is beautiful, imag- 
inative, yet simple. The frolics of Robin Goodfellow are rendered with the utmost grace and spirit. 

TALES FROM SHAKSPEARE. Designed for the Use of Young Persons. By Charles 

Lamb. From the fifth London edition. 12mo. Blustrated. Price, bound in muslin, $1.00 ; gilt, $1.50. 

These tales are intended to interest children and youth in some of the plays of Shakspeare. The form 

of the dialogue is dropped, and instead the plots are woven into stories, which are models of beauty. 

What Hawthorne has lately done for the classical mythology, Lamb has here done for Shakspeare. 



And for sale by all Booksellers in the United States. 


THE HOLLO BOOKS. By Rev. Jacob Abbott. In fourteen volumes. New edition, -with 
finely executed engravings from original designs by Billings. Price, $7 ; single, 50 cents. Any volume 
sold separately. 

Hollo Learning to Talk. Hollo's Museum. 

Hollo Learning to Head. Hollo's Travels. 

Hollo at Work. Hollo's Correspondence. 

Hollo at Play. Hollo's Philosophy— Water. 

Hollo at School. Hollo's Philosophy— Fire. 

Hollo's Vacation. Hollo's Philosophy— Air. 

Hollo's Experiments. Hollo's Philosophy— Sky. 

This is undoubtedly the most popular series of juvenile books ever published in America. This edition 
is far more attractive externally than the one by which the author first became known. Nearly one hun- 
dred new engravings, clear and fine paper, a new and beautiful cover, with a neat box to contain the 
whole, will give to this series, if possible, a still wider and more enduring reputation. 

The same, without illustrations, fourteen volumes, muslin, ?5.25. 

A PEEP AT "NTJMBEH FIVE;" or, a Chapter in the Life of a City Pastor. By 
H. Trusta, author of " Sunny Side." ISmo., illustrated. Twenty-fifth thousand. Price, muslin, 
50 cents : gilt, 75 cents. 

THE TELLTALE; or, Home Secrets told by old Travellers. By H. Trusta. 18mo., 
illustrated. Price, muslin, 50 cents ; gilt, 75 cents. 

THE LAST LEAF FROM SUNNY SIDE. By H. Tf.usta. With a Memorial of the author 
by Rev. Austin Phelps. Seventeenth thousand. 18mo., with a fine Portrait. Price, muslin, 50 
cents ; gilt, 75 cents. 

LITTLE MARY ; or. Talks and Tales for Children. By H. Trusta. Beautifully printed 
and finely illustrated. 16mo. Price, muslin, 60 cents ; muslin, full gilt, 88 cents. 

UNCLE FRANK'S BOYS' AND GIRLS' LIBRARY. A beautiful Series, comprising six 
volumes, square 16mo., with eight tinted Engravings in each volume. The following are their titles 
respectively : 

I. The Pedler's Boy; or, I'll be Somebody. 

Lt. The Diving Bell ; or, Pearls to be sought for. 

III. The Poor Organ Grinder, and other Stories. 

IV. Loss and Gain; or Susy Lee's Motto. 

V. Mike Marble ; his Crotchets and Oddities. 
VI. The Wonderful Letter Bag of Kit Curious. 

By Francis C. "Woodworth. Price, bound in muslin, 50 cents per volume ; muslin, gilt, 75 cents 
per volume. 

UNCLE FRANK'S PEEP AT THE BIRDS. With twenty-four beautiful characteristic 
engravings. By Francis C. "Woodworth. 16mo. Price, muslin, 50 cents ; muslin, gilt, 75 cents. 

UNCLE FRANK'S PEEP AT THE ANIMALS. With twenty-four fine illustrations. By 
Francis C. Woodworth. lGmo. Price, musUn, 50 cents ; muslin, gilt, 75 cents. 

THE ANGEL CHILDREN; or, Stories from Cloud Land. By Mrs. Charlotte M. H. 
Sterling. Price, muslin, 50 cents : full gilt, 75 cents. 
In this work the purest principles — love, gentleness, obedience, benevolence — are inculcated in the mos 
original and attractive manner. 

The Juvenile Books above enumerated form but a small part of the publishers' list. Catalogues sen 
post-paid, upon application. 


And for sale by all Booksellers in the United States.